My top five reasons why you should vote Labour in the European Parliament elections on 23 May:
1. Labour has successfully stopped Tories’ woeful attempts to take us out of the European Union.
We successfully fought for the ‘meaningful vote’ in Parliament, and subsequently beat the government three times, by historic proportions. We’ve won major battles in Parliament, forcing the government to publish the legal advice on leaving without a deal and instructing the government to rule out this course of action. If it were not for Labour’s work, we would have crashed out of the EU without a deal on 29 March. I’m very proud to have played a significant part in stopping this disaster as Labour whip.
In a recent parliamentary vote, the Labour position was in favour of a second confirmatory vote with ‘Remain’ on the ballot paper. This is important – as a Remainer, I believe the best possible relationship with the European Union is full EU membership. There is more on my work on the EU here.
2. But… this election is not about stopping Brexit!
Whatever you think of different parties’ position on the European Union, this election is about choosing the people to represent us in EU policy making. Members of the European Parliament do not decide whether we remain in the EU or leave. This is being decided in the UK Parliament.
In the European Parliament elections, we are selecting people to represent us at the EU level. Regardless of the lies told during the EU referendum three years ago, we are democratically represented in the EU, and this representation makes a real difference.
3. Labour is the only party that can beat the Brexit Party in the South West
If, like me, you are disgusted by the lies, racism and murky funding of some members of the Leave campaign in 2016, then you will agree: we need to defeat Farage’s Brexit Party. The polls show they have a lot of support, but Labour is the only party that can challenge them.
Let’s show our European friends and neighbours that we are a welcoming, outward-looking place.
4. Labour’s successes in Europe: Environmental protections and workers’ rights
Labour has achieved a lot at the European level. For example, on the environment Labour MEPs successfully pushed through the EU’s climate and energy policies, recognising climate change and setting emissions reduction targets. Labour supported the EU’s very first habitats laws and pushed for bans on harmful neonicotinoid pesticides. As our environment does not stop at borders, so European cooperation on the environment is vital.
Other Labour achievements have had immediate benefits for people living across the European Union. These include the Working Time Directive, limiting hours people are forced to work. Labour has also been instrumental in getting minimum maternity and paternity leave. New EU laws, supported by Labour, have banned discrimination in work and education.
Remember those grossly-inflated mobile phone roaming charges we used to pay on holiday? They are also a thing of the past thanks to Labour. Our party has also forced airlines to pay compensation for delays and cancellations.
5. Our excellent MEP candidates
Clare Moody heads the South West list of Labour candidates. She was elected as the Member of the European Parliament for the South West and Gibraltar in May 2014.
Over the last five years she has prioritised fighting tax avoidance, ending plastic pollution in our seas, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and improving employment rights. She has also worked to increase investment in climate and health research.
In the European Parliament, Claire is Vice Chair of the Security and Defence Committee, and sits on the Foreign Affairs Committee, Industry, Research and Energy Committee, and Women’s Rights Committee.
She leads a fantastic list of candidates, which includes former Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis and several experienced councillors from across the South West.