COLUMN: Why Britain should stay in EU

08:00 03 January 2016

Uttlesford's MEP Richard Howitt at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, ahead of Rare Disease Day 2015.

Uttlesford's MEP Richard Howitt at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, ahead of Rare Disease Day 2015.


I’m sure everyone who reads this will each be looking forward to their own milestones in 2016, setting their new year’s resolutions and reflecting on what I hope was a healthy and happy 2015.

For me, these new year’s greetings have a particularly special meaning for me as we look ahead to the forthcoming European referendum.

The EU referendum will decide whether Britain retains our place at the heart of a reformed Europe, better able to secure our national security, jobs in our region and investment in our future.

The alternative is a Britain going back to the 1950s with rights at work including for maternity leave and paid holiday in jeopardy, the lack of a European arrest warrant leaving criminals on the run and jobs and business put at risk.

So I hope that the next year will end with Britain firmly in the European Union.

But of course 2016 is not just about the EU referendum.

Next year will see the first full year when the new round of European-funded projects locally will be up and running.

A draft EU law for better 
access for disabled people that I have personally championed, should come to fruition. And I am working hard to secure further European investment to cut congestion and improve our region’s transport links.

As a nation we will cheer on Roy Hodgson’s England side as they look to end 50 years of hurt on the global football stage. The European Championships have given me some memorable football nights with colleagues from other countries in the European Parliament, sitting together but cheering on our respective sides.

It is where we should fight our battles, but where – of course – England should always win.

One of the great moments of 2015 was seeing a British astronaut fired into space as part of the programme of the European Space Agency and thanks partly to businesses right in the heart of my own constituency. And who thought that was possible?

Some of the most sombre moments for me in 2015, came in mourning the victims of terrorism in France as, once again, we recognised the importance of standing together.

Let us support the work of our armed forces and emergency services, and wish everyone a safe 2016 – here and abroad.

As a Labour Member of the European Parliament, a big part of the year was the thousands of doors I knocked on during the General Election in May.

While the result did not go the way we in Labour would have wanted, I am buoyed by the 14,000 new members who have joined the Labour party under the 
leadership of Jeremy Corbyn and Tom Watson.

I believe this sets Labour up for a bumper year in 2016 in the local elections and those for our police commissioners. And finally I would like to thank all my constituents for the correspondence, invitations, phone calls and tweets, mostly nice, I have had in 2015.

It remains my greatest pleasure to represent you in the European Parliament and take your concerns to Brussels and Strasbourg where, every week, I fight for a better deal for you, your family and our communities.

Have a happy, healthy and peaceful 2016.


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Saffron Walden Reporter visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Saffron Walden Reporter staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Saffron Walden Reporter account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More news stories

Yesterday, 17:28

Charity workers at a Saffron Walden nursery are devastated after being burgled last week (October 14) for the third time in around a year.

Yesterday, 11:20

Suspects attempted to break into a house in Glebe End, Elsenham, between noon on October 9 and 7am on October 15, by trying to prise the door open. No entry was gained.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

A selfless woman from Saffron Walden has hand-knitted 14 blankets which she gave to the homeless last week (October 14).

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Essex GCSE students developed better on average than their counterparts in the UK according to new league tables published last week.

Digital Edition

Read the Saffron Walden Reporter e-edition E-edition

Most read stories

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters: