THE BLOG

In 100 Days, Our Country's Future Is on the Ballot

15/03/2016 08:25 GMT | Updated 15/03/2017 09:12 GMT

With 100 days to go before the British people vote on our future relationship with Europe, Labour's position is clear: we're fighting to keep Britain in a Europe that is good for jobs, growth, investment, security, our influence in the world as well as workers' rights.

Labour is playing its part by laying out the positive case for remaining part of an alliance that has brought peace and prosperity to a continent that within living memory was engulfed in war and economic devastation.

Today, as a result of 65 years of cooperation instead of conflict, 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 Britain is a gateway to the European single market.

Labour as a party is also proud of the protections for workers, consumers, and the environment that we have secured in Europe. These are all protections that Labour governments helped to win and that are now safeguarded in EU law across the continent. The Tories were prevented in their renegotiation from hitting British workers' rights to minimum paid leave, rights for agency workers, guaranteed paid maternity and paternity leave and protection from discrimination. But a vote to leave would leave these crucial protections vulnerable to an attack.

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 when negotiating trade deals with superpowers like China and the USA as part of the EU. Issues like climate change, terrorism and organised crime don't respect national borders, so most effectively address them we need to work closely with our closest allies in Europe. And because we are part of the European Union but outside the Schengen borderless zone, we 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, which still pays out to the European Union and has free movement but no say over the rules.

What is clear is that Labour voters and the activity undertaken by Labour members and supporters will have a huge impact on the result. Our country's future is on the ballot this June and Labour are up for the challenge to make the case for Britain in Europe.

Pat Glass is the shadow Europe minister and Labour MP for North West Durham