Letter to editors on EU and the London elections
I find it incredible that my Conservative opponent in the forthcoming London Assembly elections still claims he hasn’t made up his mind about the EU referendum, unlike the Conservative candidate for Mayor, who is a confessed ‘Brexiter’.
What is even more incredible, is that the Conservative Assembly candidate has said the issue of Europe has nothing to do with the London Assembly- even though the GLA is the strategic body responsible for issues such as London’s economic prosperity, jobs and employment, the environment and safety and security all of which have a clear EU dimension.
In 2014 London exported £12.3 billion of goods to the EU (nearly 43% of all London’s exports of goods). The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) says that EU membership could add £13.9bn to London’s Economy by 2030. London and the EU are economically intertwined. Putting up a barrier between us and the world’s biggest free market would be financially devastating.
542,000 jobs in London are associated with the EU. These jobs would be far less secure if our major trading partner was less favourably accessible. HSBC alone has warned that around 1,000 of its jobs would move over the Channel if Britain were to exit the EU. We must also recognise the improved rights and protections that EU membership has given British workers, from maternity and paternity leave to paid holidays, protections for agency workers and laws against discrimination.
Tackling and adapting to climate change is one of the most serious challenges facing London this century. It’s only through working with our European partners that we can ever hope to bring down carbon emissions and create a more sustainable way of living. European directives have driven progress in tackling London’s biggest environmental challenges from toxic air, to waste and recycling and combating climate change.
The European Union is vital in the fight against international terrorism. Even Boris Johnson’s Deputy Mayor for Policing and Crime, Stephen Greenhalgh, argues that we should remain in the EU for security reasons.
Jihadists threatening Britain cannot be defeated by acting in isolation. The Metropolitan Police leads on counter terrorism for the country. Britain’s membership enables working in partnership with other EU nations, gathering and sharing intelligence that assists with identifying and preventing terrorist threats. Andrew Park (head of MI5) stated that MI5 and its international partners had thwarted 6 terrorist threats in the UK and several plots overseas. Without this collaboration and partnership Britain leaves itself vulnerable at a time of significant threats to our safety. Our membership of the European Arrest Warrant gives Britain an extra layer of security for our citizens. Its loss would be a significant blow to the scope and capability of our Criminal Justice System.
In terms of security, environment, finance and economy we are inextricably intertwined with our neighbours.
To get the best deal for London we need to be at the table: I will vote for our continued EU membership as will Labour’s candidate for Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
Labour London Assembly Member for Barnet and Camden