The work of Conservative MEPs will leave the EU with a legacy of better lawmaking and greater sensitivity to the needs of small business, a conference fringe event heard.

British Conservatives have long pushed a better regulation agenda aimed at reducing red tape, simplifying legislation, honouring subsidiarity, and prioritising small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs), said West Midlands MEP Anthea McIntyre.

"In recent years, such ideas have been taken on board and the better-regulation agenda has slowly come to the fore in Commission thinking," she said.

 "The European Conservative and Reformists Group's Better Regulation Policy Group, which I chair, has been pushing this agenda for some time and saw some real breakthroughs in the last mandate.

"(Commissioner) Frans Timmermans, despite being from the Socialists, has proved to be an unlikely ally and in his role co-ordinating the Commission’s work in the area of Better Regulation, he has been very receptive to our vision."

Miss McIntyre, Conservative employment spokesman in the European Parliament, was hosting a fringe event on Sunday - A positive view for UK business in Europe and the wider world.

Expert speakers included Mike Cherry OBE, National Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, and Tony Caldeira, CEO of the cushion and pillow manufacturer Caldeira Group.

Miss McIntyre said: "When the UK leaves the EU, it will leave behind a strong legacy in this area, much of which is thanks to the UK Conservatives. Whatever the future relationship between the UK and the EU, UK business will still need to export to and work with their counterparts in the EU. 

"We should remember that SMEs constitute 99.9% of all UK businesses and are responsible for 40% of business employment."

She pointed to the Think Small First principle and the adoption of an annual burden survey among several examples of how Conservative influence had improved the EU's  consideration toward SMEs.