With just a few days to go until the EU referendum, I am urging residents of Northampton North to vote for the UK to Remain in the EU on Thursday, 23rd June.
Here is why:
WE WILL BE STRONGER, SAFER AND BETTER OFF IN A REFORMED EUROPE THAN OUT ON OUR OWN
1. We will be better off because British businesses will have full access to the European free trade area of 500 million people, bringing jobs, investment, lower prices and financial security. This is the best trade deal of all – better than anything we could get outside of the EU.
It took seven years for the EU to negotiate a trade deal with our great friends and allies Canada- how long would it take to negotiate lots of other trade deals? And such new trade deals when eventually signed, would be unlikely to be as good for the UK because there is always greater strength and better bargains when negotiating bulk purchases as the huge EU trading bloc can do.
2. We will be safer because we can work closely with other countries to fight cross-border crime and terrorism, giving us strength in numbers in a dangerous world.
None of our Nato allies want us to leave the EU and none of our key partners beyond Nato want us to leave
The only country cheering for the UK leaving the EU would be Russia – weakening the EU would only embolden Putin
· A group of 12 of the country’s most senior military leaders said: ‘Britain’s role in the EU strengthens the security we enjoy as part of Nato, adds to our capability and flexibility when it comes to defence cooperation and allows us to project greater power on the international stage’ (Telegraph, 24 February 2016).
· Jens Stoltenberg, Nato’s Secretary General, said: ‘A strong UK in Europe is good for our security, good for Nato and I welcome that. A more fragmented Europe is bad for our security and bad for Nato…We also see the importance of UK being so supportive both inside Nato and in the EU promoting increased co-operation between Nato and EU’ (ITV News, 14 April 2016).
· Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, Head of the US Army in Europe, said: ‘What goes on here is of strategic interest to us. Anything that undermines the effectiveness of the alliance has an impact on us, and so if the EU begins to become unravelled there can't help but be a knock-on effect for the alliance also’ (BBC News, 15 March 2016).
3. We will be stronger because we can play a leading role in one of the world’s largest organisations from within, helping make the big decisions that affect our future. Norway for example has to abide by EU rules to trade with the EU, but is not at the negotiating table to have say in forming those rules.
IMMIGRATION AND WELFARE
· I recognise that people rightly have concerns about immigration, but wrecking the economy and destroying jobs by getting rid of our privileged access to the world’s biggest market is not the answer. We’ve got to think about our economic future.
· Our new special status in Europe now means EU citizens will have to put in before they get out in welfare – ending the ‘something for nothing’ culture.
· We don’t know what will happen to immigration even if we do leave: the Leave campaign are saying they will reduce immigration to one group of people, and saying they will not end free movement from Europe to another group of people.
BRITAIN’S NEW SETTLEMENT WILL END THE ‘SOMETHING FOR NOTHING’ CULTURE
· Child benefit will no longer be sent overseas at UK rates but will be indexed to the cost of living of the country in which the child actually lives – and will apply to existing nationals from 2020
· A new emergency brake will mean people coming to Britain from within the EU will have to wait four years until they have full access to our benefits – and this will last for seven years
· This brake will take effect directly after the referendum, once the necessary legislation has passed. That means that if this comes into effect next year, we can still deny benefits in 2024 – so people who arrive then will have their claims restricted until 2028
WE HAVE CREATED THE TOUGHEST POSSIBLE SYSTEM FOR DEALING WITH SUCH ABUSE OF THE SYSTEM
- EU migrants will no longer be able to claim Universal Credit while looking for work
- Those coming from the EU who haven’t found a job within 6 months can be required to leave
- Tougher and longer re-entry bans for fraudsters and people who collude in sham marriages
- Stronger powers to deport criminals and stop them coming back, and prevent them from entering in the first place
- We can now take people’s criminal records in other countries into account – so we can refuse more criminals trying to get into the UK
- UK immigration law will now apply to non-EU spouses marrying an EU national in the UK – so we can impose salary thresholds
Of course the task of reforming Europe goes on. But our special status in Europe gives us the best of both worlds. It means families across the UK get all the benefits of being in the EU, including more jobs, lower prices and greater security.
But we are out of the parts of Europe that don’t work for us. So we will never join the Euro, and never be part of Eurozone bailouts, the Schengen no borders agreement, a European Army or an EU super-state. The benefits clearly outweigh the costs.
LEAVING IS A LEAP IN THE DARK
Leaving Europe is a threat to our economic security and our national security.
Jobs will not be safe, prices will rise, mortgages will be at risk, and funding for local schools and hospitals will fall.
It means risk at a time of uncertainty. It is a leap in the dark.
WITH OUR SPECIAL STATUS, BRITAIN HAS THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
The UK has the best of both worlds as an independent nation within the EU:
- We didn’t sign up to the Euro.
- We didn’t sign up to the Schengen Area – the no-borders area on mainland Europe, which is currently causing such problems for many countries that did sign up to it.
- We have an opt-out from the EU’s quota scheme for asylum-seekers and Eurozone bailouts.
But we have the same access as all other EU members to the free trade single market of 500 million people from across Europe, which is key to jobs and economic security.