My views on the EU Referendum

I strongly believe that Britain is better off in Europe and I will be campaigning in favour of remaining in the EU.

Membership of the EU brings us jobs, growth and investment, protects British workers and consumers and keeps us safe. The average family saves around £450 a year as a direct result of our membership of the biggest consumer market in the world. If we were to leave this market, worth £227 billion in UK exports, we would still find ourselves subject to a lot of the regulation within the EU, but on the outside, unable to influence the direction or nature of these rules. This would be a disaster for British businesses.

Membership of the EU has given workers’ rights to minimum paid leave, equal pay, anti-discrimination laws, rights for agency workers, paid maternity and paternity leave and protection for the workforce when companies change hands. Pressure from the Labour party and Trade Unions ensured that the protections offered British workers by EU membership were kept off the agenda of the Prime Minister’s renegotiation over the past few months. Our membership is good for British jobs and the men and women doing those jobs.

We face global problems which require collaborative solutions. Climate change, terrorism and cross-border crime can only be resolved through co-operation with our European partners and we will only weaken our country by pulling out of this partnership at this time. The EU offers stability, peace and freedom to its citizens. In the face of global uncertainty and challenges which require solutions above and beyond what national government are capable of, it is our responsibility to work as part of Europe in facing up to and tackling these global challenges.

I do not think the EU is perfect and my Labour Party colleagues and I would like to see further reforms in the future. This includes greater strengthening of workers’ rights, democratisation and increasing accountability in EU institutions and halting the pressure to privatise public services. The Prime Minister’s latest actions with regard to “renegotiation” have been a sideshow aimed at appeasing his backbenchers. His so called ‘emergency brake’ will be ineffective in reducing migrant numbers as the evidence does not back up the Tories’ claim that in-work benefits are a pull to workers from other EU member states. Instead we should be tackling the problem of low pay and businesses using migrant workers to drive down wages for British workers.

Fundamentally, irrespective of the deal the Prime Minister has negotiated, it is in the interest of British business, consumers and workers to remain in the EU and this is why I will be campaigning in favour of remaining in the EU.