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Mike's Ilford Recorder Column (21/04/2016)

The European Union referendum on June 23 will be the biggest political choice the British people have faced for more than 40 years. How we vote will not just affect our own lives but those of our children and grandchildren.

Constituents should have received a leaflet explaining why the Government believe that remaining in the European Union is in the best interests of the British people. I believe it is reasonable for any Government of the day to set out its position and the facts about our membership of the EU, just as the Labour Government did prior to the 1975 referendum.

Unfortunately media coverage has so far been dominated by arguments about process and personalities, and the bitter internal divisions in the Conservative Party. Labour in contrast is now overwhelmingly for staying in the EU. We believe it has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment.

The EU is the best framework for trade, manufacturing and cooperation in 21st century Europe. Tens of billion pounds of investment, and millions of jobs are linked to our relationship with the EU, the biggest single market in the world.

But even more important is what happens to the security of our country and our standing and influence in the world if vote to reject our 27 European partners.

The EU makes us far more effective in dealing with climate change, regulating global corporations to ensure they pay fair taxes, tackling cyber-crime and combating the threat of terrorism. Successive governments have committed Britain to being an outward-looking country. The rules-based international order which they helped to build is now threatened by Putin's Russia.

If we vote to leave the EU we would be turning our back on what makes Britain great.

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