On Thursday, we face one of the most important decisions we will ever make. There are strong feelings on both sides of the debate, but I am certain that the best option for us and the UK as a whole is to vote to remain a member of the European Union.
Firstly, British workers benefit from EU agreements on workers’ rights, including the right to holiday pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, anti-discrimination laws, equal pay and protection for agency workers.
Secondly, membership of the EU supports jobs and growth. Around 3 million British jobs are linked to our membership and almost half of all UK exports go to EU countries easily and more cheaply because of our EU membership and free access to the single market. Large companies from all over the world – not just from inside the EU – choose to build their offices and factories in the UK and recruit staff here because we are a gateway to the European single market. If we leave the EU and lose access to the single market, the risk of losing these employers is huge and could have a devastating effect on jobs and growth.
Thirdly, our security is strengthened by working closely with our European neighbours. Sharing intelligence and resources, we are able to develop solutions and responses to international terrorism and climate change, and the European Arrest Warrant makes it easy for us to arrest criminal suspects even if they flee the UK to another EU member state.
A vote to Leave is taking a major risk with our rights at work, jobs, growth and security, and things that many now take for granted, such as cheaper flights, a cap on mobile roaming charges, and the duty-free online purchase of goods from Europe on sites such as ebay.
While the debate has been strong, I don’t think the case has been made for leaving the EU, and the lack of any idea as to what comes next if we leave is deeply concerning. Economists and independent experts are repeatedly telling us our economy will suffer and the pound will crash if we leave the EU.
I don’t think we should take that risk, and so in our national interest, I’m voting Remain on Thursday.