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As the country prepares to go to the polls, here is a personal view on the compelling reasons why I believe Labour supporters should vote 'Remain' in the European referendum:

1) IMMIGRATION.  Immigration brings money into the UK's coffers.  Immigrants pay far, far more in taxes than they take out in benefits.  Immigrants come to the UK to work and contribute, not to scrounge.  Southampton is a city built on the cumulative contributions of wave after wave of successive immigrants.  And even if we vote to leave the EU, if we still want access to the single market - which even the Leave campaign admit they would want - then we'd have to continue to allow the free movement of labour as part of any deal with the rest of the EU.  Yes, immigration can bring local pressures on services such as schools and our NHS.  But leaving the EU will not change that: it's the UK's government that's failing here, not the EU.

2) SOVEREIGNTY AND CONTROL.  The Leave campaign bang on about 'taking back control', and make outrageous claims like 'Turkey will be joining the EU any time soon and there's nothing we can do to stop it'.  This is simply wrong.  The UK parliament remains sovereign, and the UK has a right of veto over what happens with the big decisions like who gets to join in future.  Even if the entire rest of the EU wanted Turkey to join - which they don't - we have the right to stop it.  As a sovereign parliament, we already pool our strengths in all sorts of areas - such as NATO for defence, for example.  Being part of the EU makes us able to tackle issues like climate change and international crime far more successfully than if we tried to go it alone.

3) THE ECONOMY.  Even the Leave campaign admit that there's more risk associated with leaving the EU than with staying.  The leaders of the Leave campaign can afford to be relaxed about that: it's not the likes of Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage who will have to face the financial consequences of a Leave vote.  It's the people whose jobs, livelihoods, and children's futures depend on the industries and businesses which are currently a success in the UK because of its membership of the EU who will pay the price.  44% of the UK's trade is with Europe - for Southampton, with its cruise terminals and container port, that figure is even higher.  A vote to Leave puts the city's economy at huge risk.  It's not a risk worth taking.

4) PEACE AND STABILITY.  It's easy to forget that for the entire period of recorded history prior to 1945, Europe was continually torn apart by war and conflict.  The older citizens of Southampton still remember what it was like to be bombed by the German Luftwaffe night after night (and I have the remains of a WWII air-raid shelter in my back garden as a 'concrete' reminder of this.)  The post-War project which brought nations together has prevented European countries from being at war with each other since.  Negotiation has replaced armed conflict, and everyone is better off as a result.  You only have to look at what's happened in the former Yugoslavia or USSR to see what can happen when nations fragment.  Britain leaving the EU will make both Europe and the world a much more dangerous place.  Again, it's not a risk that's worth taking.

VOTE REMAIN TOMORROW, 23rd JUNE 2016.

How to vote: You can go down to your local polling station tomorrow to vote in person.  To find your local polling station, simply click here and enter your postcode.You don't need to have your polling card with you - just tell them your name and address and you will be able to vote.  Don't miss the chance!

 

Why Labour supporters should vote Remain - and how to vote

As the country prepares to go to the polls, here is a personal view on the compelling reasons why I believe Labour supporters should vote 'Remain' in the European referendum:...

Southampton and Romsey Labour Party is deeply saddened by the death of Jo Cox M.P. and send deepest sympathy and condolences to her family and friends.

We salute everyone who engages in democratic politics without recourse to violence or the threat of violence.  As a mark of respect, campaigning is suspended for the weekend.

There will, however, be a vigil in Southampton for Jo, meeting tomorrow (Sat 18th June) at the Peace Fountain in East Park at 12pm. Please do come along to pay your respects

Jo Cox vigil

Southampton and Romsey Labour Party is deeply saddened by the death of Jo Cox M.P. and send deepest sympathy and condolences to her family and friends. We salute everyone who...

Could Southampton be a sustainable city?  It’s all about working together say Southampton’s Labour Council.

In the wake of an announcement that Southampton will be one of the first cities outside London to introduce a Clean Air Zone, there is a sense that there is still so much more to do to make a thriving city like Southampton truly sustainable.  

Not everything is achieved through big government announcements; often it is the shifts in behaviours by everyone, and the impact of really local initiatives on the ground that can change lives.

Like many cities, Southampton benefits from some resourceful charities and community groups who wish to make a difference. One example are projects to reduce the amount of waste we produce, for example food waste, in which sadly the UK is high on the list of offenders.

Alan Whitehead MP and Shadow DEFRA Kerry McCarthy MP visited one of those (CRUMBS at SCRATCH)  to follow up on how they were delivering.  This is a project funded with EU money that seeks to both tackle food poverty as well as reduce waste and unnecessary carbon emissions using the Fare Share model.

Further discussions ensued with the leader of the Council Simon Letts and Councillor Dave Shields, who leads the city’s Health and Wellbeing Board with James Dyke from Southampton’s Climate Conversations about what practically the Council could do to promote and lead on this agenda.  

Cllr Letts made a commitment to appointing a Cabinet lead on Climate Change at this meeting.  Kerry McCarthy explained her proposals in a Food Waste Bill that would provide both ‘carrot and stick’ to reducing food waste, and the discussion ranged from initiatives that only government or EU could change to what we can all do locally in our communities.

Dr James Dyke said "Southampton could become a low carbon city, a healthy place to live and work. There are challenges, but community action working in partnership with volunteers, city council, universities and local business can make this happen.”  

Kerry McCarthy commented “it was great to see first-hand some of the initiatives in Southampton which show the impact of local efforts in stepping up green action to make Southampton a truly sustainable city. We share this truly Labour vision to develop a green agenda that works for everyone and builds a cleaner, healthier future for us all.”

How do we make Southampton a sustainable city?

Could Southampton be a sustainable city?  It’s all about working together say Southampton’s Labour Council. In the wake of an announcement that Southampton will be one of the first cities...

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