THE BLOG

For Peace, Prosperity, Security and the Future of Our Nation, An In Vote Is the Best for Us All

14/03/2016 14:24 GMT | Updated 13/03/2017 09:12 GMT

After the storm the dust is settling, Cameron has come back from Brussels clutching a deal that has not appeased all in his party but that has strengthened and safeguarded our already special status within the EU. We won't be forced into an 'ever-closer union', Cameron has secured limits on migrant benefits and the City of London has been further protected.

I welcome the deal but let's get real, it won't be remembered as a game-changing moment in the EU referendum campaign. Now that the marathon deal is behind us, we can start campaigning for a stronger Britain In Europe.

This referendum is no General Election where we choose a party to govern for five years. This vote will have a profound effect on our lives. This is a 'One-off' vote, which could lead to the most bitter and fractious of divorces.

In the last week, we've started to witness a monumental chasm opening up in the Tory party. Backbench MPs, cabinet ministers including one from his inner circle, an ex-Tory leader and the Tory London mayoral candidate have all deserted their own leader in the last week. Most farcical of all is Boris Johnson who has flip-flopped on this decision and has contradicted his recently stated pro-EU allegiances. Just last month, Boris was quoted saying ''the single market is of considerable value to many UK companies and consumers, and that leaving would cause at least some business uncertainty''. That was then, this month Boris is putting his own ambition before the nation's best interests. Hardly surprising from a man who has demonstrated throughout his life it is all about me, me, me!

London is a city which encapsulates the benefits of a successful and cooperative relationship with our European neighbours. The EU is Britain's largest market and goods exports from London alone to the EU account for £12.5bn (according to regional statistics from HMRC). Thousands of the capital's small and large businesses depend on our trade with Europe and according to the Centre for Economic and Business Research figures in 2011, in London 541,707 jobs are linked to trade with the EU.

Meanwhile on the other side, Labour has been disappointingly quiet. Jeremy Corbyn should be committing whole-heartedly to the Remain side. Corbyn's relative silence is doing a disservice to the majority of his party which is pro EU and is putting at risk our economic prosperity, influence on the world stage and security.

We need to be telling everyone clearly that our economy is stronger as a result of the EU. Just the threat of Brexit has caused the pound to head towards its biggest single-session loss since October 2009, and leaving the EU would mean our country would lose jobs and each household, which according to the CBI currently benefits from EU membership by £3,000 a year, would be much worse off. As a country we're given a seat at the table of the largest free trade market in the world, allowing, according to HMRC, 61% of UK small business exports to go to the EU. Leave the EU and we would have lost our free trade agreements with numerous countries throughout the world, including the USA who have stated that Britain would be subject to the same tariffs as countries such as China and Brazil if we left the EU. US Trade Representative Michael Froman has said "We have no Free Trade Agreement with the UK so they would be subject to the same tariffs - and other trade-related measures - as China, or Brazil or India" if we left the EU.

Through being in the EU we have significant and influential leverage on issues such as the threat of Daesh and Russia and a loud voice in addressing international terrorism. It is quite apt that the only world leader who arguably wants Brexit is a certain Mr Putin, while President Obama is desperate for the UK to stay in the EU. Furthermore, the current Home Secretary and senior officers from the armed forces have stated bluntly that our country is safer being part of the EU by working with our neighbours through systems such as the European Arrest Warrant.

Being part of the European Union has brought past enemies together and helped bring peace to our continent. In living memory, for some people, Europe was in the middle of a firestorm, now Europeans sit around a table as equal partners to discuss issues like crime, environment, workers rights and work together to set out common laws which help our Continent develop economically and protect our security.

The relative harmony in the EU contrasts sharply with the state of the Brexit camp. The outers bicker and disagree over what the UK will look like if we leave the EU, and their conflicting ideologies shine a light on the confusion and lack of coherence in their arguments. They don't know what will happen to the 2 million British citizens living in the EU or how long a deal to leave the EU will take to negotiate, they can't even agree on whether they want to be Norway, Turkey or Switzerland, but all of those countries have a worse deal than we currently do!

If the UK votes for Brexit, how likely is it that the EU will be sympathetic to any pleadings from our country to negotiate a new settlement with the EU? And what of the impact on Scotland? It is incredibly likely that what would soon follow is that our Union would fragment and independence in Scotland would follow.

The outers cannot be allowed to make up their 'facts' and we will dispel the myth that the EU controls our country and dictates our laws. In fact, independent experts at the House of Commons Library say that only 13% of our laws are decided by the EU, many of which, on the environment for instance, are welcomed.

While the EU is not perfect, our country has benefited hugely from the EU. Leaving will only create the illusion of sovereignty and anyone who loves our country should be campaigning heart and soul for the union over the next four months. Our country needs to start speaking about how much we all gain from our role in Europe, Corbyn's Labour must speak louder and the Lib Dems and other Stronger In supporters must shout passionately for the future of our country.

It will be hard work but with a strong message and the facts to back it up, we can show everyone that for the peace, prosperity, security and future of our nation, an In vote is the best for us all.