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Let's not turn our back on Europe

Home / News / Lewisham news / Let's not turn our back on Europe

15 March 2016
Heidi Stronger In For many people, Saturday mornings are the time of the week to do the shopping, put the washing on and spend some time with the kids. 

With elections just around the corner, you might also get a knock at your door from someone like me, keen to talk to you about the issues of the day. 

Over the last few weekends, I’ve been doing precisely that – across my constituency in places like Blackheath, Catford, Downham and Lee. 

Whilst I’ve been campaigning on behalf of Labour’s excellent candidate for London Mayor Sadiq Khan, I’ve also been talking to voters about Europe.
The referendum on June 23 about the UK’s membership of the European Union is a defining moment in the history of our country. 

I was two months old at the time of the last referendum. Being part of Europe is something I have grown up with.

I have no doubt in my mind that whilst the EU is not perfect, our interests as a country are best served by staying in. 

Whether it’s the economy, jobs, trade or our ability to deal with big issues such as international terrorism or climate change, we need to be sat at the table working with our European neighbours to find solutions.

The uncertainty created by pulling out of Europe would touch so many different parts of our life. 

What happens when you have a week in Spain, you have an accident and need to go to hospital? Well, we might be able to negotiate a deal to have access to healthcare in other European countries but we don’t know that at the moment. 

What happens to people’s jobs which rely upon easy trade with Europe? Well, we might be able to negotiate access to the single market, but we can’t be sure. We don’t know how much it would cost and we wouldn’t have a say in the rules which govern the way the market operates.

The EU is not perfect but we need to have a seat at the table. 

Eighty years ago my grandfather and my husband’s grandfather found themselves on opposing sides in the Second World War. 

I think the European Union has not only strengthened our economy but it has also helped maintain peace. 

We shouldn’t be turning our back on it – instead we should be working with others to reform and improve it. Our economy and security depend upon our membership of the EU – let’s not put that at risk.

This article was originally written for, and published by, the South London Press. Click here for the original article on the SLP website.

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