Ilford recorder Column 24 January 2013

We start 2013 with closures of established names like HMV, Jessops and Comet. Many high streets are in crisis and the economy is stagnating with talk of a triple dip recession.  Now the Prime Minister is creating years of additional economic uncertainty as he attempts to appease parts of his party on Europe.  David Cameron may want Britain to be in the EU but for many Conservatives getting him to commit now to an in/out referendum is not about consent, but about leaving.  UK  business leaders say leaving the EU would be bad for jobs and bad for our economy.  The  damaging uncertainty of a referendum in five years time will scare off inward investment.  Ed Miliband is right to warn of the danger of sleepwalking towards exit.  The EU  does need to work better for people in Britain and the other 26 member states with more focus on promoting jobs and growth, and reducing and reforming the Budget . But to get the best deal for Britain we need to be round the table with our allies in Europe, not shouting from the sidelines with one foot already out of the door, or giving up the ability to influence the rules of the market where almost half of all UK exports end up.  A common market needs common rules on consumer rights, environmental standards, health and safety, drug testing, food safety, packaging, waste disposal, so goods can be made and services offered across the whole of the world's largest single market. The EU ensures common competition policy, minimum social standards and workers rights, and tackles cross-border crime so that murderers and paedophiles don’t escape justice.  Labour is right to speak for the national interest by making the hard headed, patriotic case for change in Europe, and for Britain in Europe.


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