Mary Creagh

Working hard for Wakefield

Wakefield Express column - June 2016

In 13 days’ time we will make the biggest political decision for a generation. This is not like a general election where you can change your mind after five years. This is final. I hope that you, like me, Jeremy Corbyn, most Labour MPs and trade unionists, will vote for Britain to remain in the EU on 23 June.


Labour is clear on the need to remain in the EU. Because we know there is too much at stake for families here in Wakefield. We believe in standing up for working people whose jobs and communities rely on trade with Europe. We are stronger, safer and better off in the EU.

The EU brings us British jobs, British growth and British investment. A quarter of a million Yorkshire jobs - including two thirds of our manufacturing jobs - depend on trade with the EU, through local factories of multinational companies like Haribo, Nestle and Coca-Cola.

The EU underpins rights that protect British workers and consumers. People in Wakefield want to be treated fairly at work. And those rights are guaranteed by our membership of the EU. Does anyone think their right to a paid holiday, or paid maternity leave would be protected if Nigel Farage had his way?

I believe that Britain needs to take a lead in tackling the issues that are too big for any one country to solve by itself, whether the that is the refugee crisis, tax avoidance or climate change. Cooperation with our neighbours, through the European Arrest Warrant, helps us fight terrorism and cross-border crime, helping to keep us safe.

Leaving would put put jobs in Wakefield at risk, and diminish Britain’s influence in the world. The choice in this referendum is financial security for families in Wakefield. Or a leap in the dark with a vote to leave.

Vote Leave are trying to pull the wool over our eyes. The want us to walk away from a market of 500 million people, and negotiate a new deal - but they can't explain what it would look like. Michael Gove admits it could take five years to leave, which means five years of crippling financial uncertainty for families in Wakefield. That is too high a price to pay. Our economy will be hit, family finances would be hit, jobs won't be safe, mortgage rates will go up, prices will rise and our NHS and schools will be hit.

Why should we trust Iain Duncan Smith, architect of the crippling bedroom tax, food banks and disastrous universal credit, to protect our workplace rights?

Why should we trust climate change sceptics like John Redwood to uphold environmental protections that have cleaned up our air, rivers and beaches?

Why should we trust Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, to invest more money in our NHS when they voted for the biggest top-down reorganisation in NHS history which wasted £3 billion? That decision had nothing to do with the EU but was taken by ideologues set on dismantling our health service.

Not a single mainstream Western government leader wants the UK to leave. But Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin and French National Front leader Marine Le Pen do.

Their advice to leave, is a leap in the dark and a risk your family cannot afford to take.
Vote to remain on June 23rd.

This article was first published by the Wakefield Express on 10 June 2016.

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