I have been contacted by many residents this week asking how I will be voting in the EU referendum on June 23rd. I will be backing the campaign for Britain to remain in the European Union.
British people have benefited hugely from our membership of the EU. Thanks to the EU, working people in Britain are entitled to 28 days paid leave a year, sickness rights, equal pay, maternity and parental leave, and we have equal rights for all employees whether part-time, temporary, agency, full-time or permanent.
It is also the case that millions of British jobs are linked to our EU membership. Almost half of our total exports go to the EU and are worth more than £227 billion a year to the British economy. As a member of the EU we have a say in the laws which regulate trade and we are able to vote for rules which benefit our businesses and workers – if we left the EU, we would have to abide by the EU's trade laws but we would have no say whatsoever over what they were. 61% of small business exports currently go to the EU, and do so much more easily because we are a member state.
This referendum is arguably the most important vote we have had for at least a generation. It is obviously a very emotive issue for many people, and there are strongly held views on both sides of the debate.
However, I have no doubt that it is in the best interests of British families, British workers and British businesses to remain a part of the European Union, and so I will be voting to remain.