This June, the UK will decide whether or not to remain in the EU, ahead of this momentous occasion Alan Johson MP, tells Copyright why Bristolians should vote to stay.
On 23 June, the British people will face a choice, not on the issues which David Cameron has been negotiating on, but on whether to stay in Europe, or to leave. Labour is fighting a campaign in this referendum to remain, because we believe Britain is better off in Europe.
Our campaign is separate from Britain Stronger In Europe, the cross-party campaign, although we share the same objectives. We are campaigning to stay in Europe to protect the millions of jobs that are linked to British trade with Europe, and the investment and growth that being part of the world’s largest single market brings.
Almost half of our exports go to EU countries. Large companies from all over the world choose to build offices and factories in the UK, and recruit staff here, because we are a gateway to the European single market.
EU agreements also protect British consumers, saving the average family around £450 a year due to the lower prices that come from being part of the biggest consumer market in the world.
Working with Europe gives Britain more influence than when we act alone. We are stronger at negotiating trade deals with larger countries like China and the US as part of the EU. Because problems like climate change, terrorism and organised crime don’t respect national borders, they are most effectively addressed by working together with our European neighbours. And because we are part of the EU but outside the Schengen borderless zone, we can take full advantage of Europe-wide security cooperation while keeping our own borders secure.
Protecting Britain’s interests means ensuring we have a strong voice at the top table. Like all institutions, the EU requires reform. But if we leave, Britain will still have to follow EU rules if we want to access the single market – we just won’t have any say in making the rules anymore. That’s been Norway’s experience.
Britain is better off in Europe. It brings us jobs, growth and investment whilst protecting British workers and consumers. Leaving would put all that at risk and diminish Britain’s influence in the world. That’s Labour’s case in this referendum.