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Mike Gapes's Ilford Recorder Column (October 23 2014)

In Parliament last week we had important debates called by Labour on proposals to increase the national minimum wage and for increased investment in social care and the national health service.

Unfortunately both motions were rejected by the Conservative and Liberal democrat coalition. I spoke in favour of the historic recognition of Palestine alongside Israel. I also pressed the government to support the Kurds in Syria who face extermination by the terrorist ISIL Caliphate cult. It also threatens millions of Muslims, Christians and others and plans terror plots against our own country.

In my speech on Friday on the European Union Referendum Bill I pointed out that millions of people work for foreign companies that invest in Britain to gain access to the European Union which is the largest single market in the world, on a continent of 500 million people. Half of our trade is with the European Union. The Bill represents a threat to that and to the jobs and prosperity of our people. It also has huge implications for the 2 million British people living—working or retired—in other EU countries. If we leave the EU, their livelihoods, and possibly their residence and legal status, will be jeopardised. We might see a huge increase in demand on our NHS from elderly people coming back to this country.

Last week the Ilford Recorder reported that Barking, Havering and Redbridge hospitals trust has recruited nurses from Portugal to fill the gap in our local NHS and reduce reliance on agency staff. EU migration is vital to the provision of health care for my constituents. If we cut off our relationship with the EU, the many immigrants providing vital services in our economy and health service will no longer be able to do that.

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