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Vote Remain - For Peace and Prosperity, and to Protect Us From the Tories

15/06/2016 17:15 | Updated 15 June 2016

To me, the case for membership of the EU is a compelling one. As well as building peace and prosperity across Western Europe for over 60 years, it has also contributed massively to many of the rights we enjoy today - particularly the rights of women, workers and families.

And the case for staying in the EU is even stronger for so long as we have a Tory government in charge. Over the past few years the UK Tory Government has led a full-on assault on our rights, rolling back the support offered by the state at every opportunity. Imagine if they were able to scrap statutory maternity and paternity leave, along with maternity and paternity pay? For make no mistake, the reason many Tories want us to leave the EU is so that they can scrap the rights we all enjoy largely thanks to the EU.

Much has been made of the UK's financial contribution to the EU, and claims that this money could be better spent by the UK Government. The idea that the UK Government would spend the money no longer paid to the EU on our priorities, like our public services, is laughable. This is the party that has started down the road of privatising the NHS south of the border, that spends billions on nuclear weapons, that has cut vital support for disabled people across the UK and continues to punish some of the most vulnerable people in our society for the mistakes of bankers and politicians. I don't for a minute believe the Tories can be trusted to spend our money more wisely than the EU.

In my own constituency, for example, two employability projects have recently begun to offer support to unemployed people across North Lanarkshire, with significant funding from the EU - in the form of two European Social Fund grants of over £6million. A grant from the European Regional Development Fund of £1.8million is also helping fund investment in business advisory support services across the area. Over the years, EU funding has directly contributed to and often initiated valuable projects across my constituency, with significant funding for employability projects in particular. The same is true all across Scotland.

It was Boris Johnson, the leader of the Brexit campaign, who said that a pound spent in London was of more value than a pound spent in Scotland. If he gets his hands on this EU cash, I don't fancy the chances of Scotland seeing a penny of it, or that money being spent on the right priorities.

On Thursday 23 June I will be voting to remain in Europe, and ask you to do the same. It is the EU which offers Scotland the opportunity of a genuine partnership of nations - one where we choose to work with our friends and neighbours to make real progress on economic, environment and social issues within Europe and the wider world. And more immediately, it offers some much needed protection against the worst excesses of this right wing Tory Government.

Stewart McDonald is the SNP MP for Cumbernauld, Kilsyth & Kirkintilloch East

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