EU Referendum March 2016

Thank you for contacting me recently regarding the UK's membership of the European Union.

I am the first generation in my family to go to Europe without a rifle over my shoulder. The European Union for all its many flaws is the best framework for European peace, trade and co-operation in the 21st century. 

The Referendum is a dangerous gamble with the UK’s future by a Prime Minister who puts party management above the national interest. His deal on the UK's renegotiation of our membership on 19th February was window dressing. The case for our membership of the EU is much bigger than this new agreement. I would have liked to have seen the deal include more to address the real challenges for example, low pay in Britain and the undercutting of local wage rates, the Common Agricultural policy, more democratic control and a proper Written Constitution.

The EU has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment. The strength that we derive from being part of the biggest consumer market in the world means that the average family saves around £450 a year due to lower prices. The UK is also stronger negotiating deals with countries like China and the United States as part of a group of 28 EU nations than we would be on our own. 

The EU is far from perfect, it needs reform to work for us and that means staying in to have a voice.  The EU does need reform so it is more efficient, accountable and transparent and so it does more to promote jobs and growth. I also believe there needs to greater fairness on what happens when people move here from another EU country, with longer transitional arrangements for countries joining the EU and reforms to rules allowing EU migrants in the UK to claim child benefit or child tax credit when their children live abroad. It should also be made easier to deport people who have recently moved from another EU country into the UK if they commit crime and the reform agenda must address the concern that the EU is intent on a drive to an ever closer union.

If we were to leave the EU, the UK would still have to follow its rules when doing business there but would no longer have a say in making the rules. Issues facing us as a country in the 21st century are often global in nature, such as tackling climate change, cyber-crime and terrorism, and the EU will be a vital part of how we meet these challenges.

Remaining in the EU is in the best interests of the country and our people, not only for what the EU delivers today, but as a framework through which we can achieve much more in the future.

Thank you once again for writing to me and for sharing your views.