Today we all have a unique opportunity to take a decision about the long-term future of our country.
How you vote and how the UK votes on Thursday will affect not only our lives but those of future generations to come.
The Prime Minister has made it very clear that this is a one off election. It is not, as some have suggested a chance to vote Leave and then try to re-join the EU at a later date. There is no going back after 23rd June.
Whatever the outcome of the Referendum I will accept the democratic result but I wanted to contact you in these last few days to urge you to do 2 things - ensure you play your part by taking the time to vote on Thursday and to vote for Remain.
Over the past weeks we have all been bombarded with a wide variety of information, some of it complex and confusing. Putting it simply this is why I believe we are stronger, safer and better off staying IN the EU:
Opportunity– as part of the Single Market we are part of the world’s biggest trading bloc. When world trade is evolving and developing, why give up this key advantage? Respected analysts the world over say our economy and jobs will suffer if we leave, giving years of uncertainty.
Certainty - the Leave campaign have made rash promises about our future if we Brexit that they can’t possibly deliver. The only certainty is continuing to work with our neighbours, building our economy and job creation against a leap into the unknown.
Influence – remaining in the EU means our Prime Minister is our strong voice at the table, fighting our corner and influencing policy. Leave means we are left on the outside, diminishing our authority and our standing in the world.
In the past weeks I have been shocked at how the immigration issue has been used by elements in the Leave campaign, particularly UKIP, to spread fear. Please don’t be taken in by this rhetoric. This is not the UK we know and love, not the sort of country we are ambitious for.
As your North West MEP I have been privileged to represent you for 12 years. I have always pushed to ensure we maximise our benefits from the EU, including funding from EU sources to support and develop many companies, charities, and community organisations. Legislation I have introduced is cutting red tape to our small businesses.
Reforms secured by our Prime Minister mean the UK is in a unique position and our relationship with our EU partners has fundamentally changed. Further reforms will be on going, but we can't improve things from the outside.
Why vote to throw all this away?
Today please take the time to go and vote. Polling is from 7am to 10pm. Those few minutes may change all of our futures, so do something positive and vote REMAIN.
Top 10 Facts
1. As part of Europe, British businesses have free access to sell to 500 million consumers. If we left the EU, our trade would face tariffs and barriers.
2. Independent experts have found that over 3 million jobs in Britain are linked to our trade with Europe. Source: HM Treasury
3. A strong economy means households are better off in Europe. If Britain were to leave Europe, the hit to the economy would be equivalent to £4,300 for each UK household. Source: HM Treasury
4. Being in the EU means a stronger economy, which means more investment in public services. Leaving would mean spending cuts of £36bn. Source: HM Treasury
5. 44% of the UK’s international exports are to EU countries, worth £229 billion in 2014 Source: Office for National Statistics
6. Between 2004 and 2014, the average investment from European countries every year was £24.1 billion - that’s over £66 million a day in investment from Europe. Source: Office for National Statistics
7. The cost of holidays are cheaper in the EU, for example because the price of flights has come down 40% because the EU changed the rules to allow low-cost airlines like EasyJet to set up in Europe. Source: European Commission
8. Over 200,000 UK students have spent time abroad on the Erasmus exchange programme. Students wo have undertaken placements on the Erasmus programme are 50% less likely to experience long-term unemployment than their counterparts. Source: Universities UK
9. Workers’ rights are protected by EU legislation, including entitlements to paid holiday of at least four weeks a year, maximum working hours, anti-discrimination laws and statutory paid maternity and paternity leave.
10. Our access to the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) has meant over 1,100 suspected criminals have been arrested in the EU and returned to Britain to face justice. Also under the European Arrest Warrant, Britain has sent 7,400 suspected criminals who had fled here back to the EU. Source: National Crime Agency