Seeing the UK as part of the EU doesn’t make you less British

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Firstly, allow me to clarify the official position of the Labour Party in the upcoming European Union Referendum: We believe it is in the best interests of the United Kingdom to Remain in the EU.

Membership of the EU allows our local businesses access to a market of 500 million people, only having to follow one set of rules and not 28. The HMRC estimate that 3,332 companies in the South East export goods and services to the EU. It is thought some 4,000 jobs in Worthing West are reliant on trade with the EU.

The EU also offers protections for us as workers. The EU Working Time Directive guarantees us four weeks holidays a year and offers us protection against being forced to work long hours. For the third of all workers in West Sussex who are part time, EU law also gives protection to temporary workers and agency workers, who are often in the most precarious jobs, stops part‐time workers being treated less favourably than full‐time workers, and stops pregnant women from being treated unfavourably by employers.

It is now illegal for any country in the EU to allow discrimination at work based on sexual orientation while the Charter of Fundamental Rights protects people with disabilities from the same.

When schoolteacher Jeremy Forrest ran off to France with a 15-year-old pupil in 2012, he was spotted by a bar owner in Bordeaux who alerted the police in the UK. Using an European Arrest Warrant, a joint operation between Sussex and French police allowed Forrest to be arrested and sent back to the UK where he was eventually prosecuted for child abduction.

Similarly convicted pedophile Roderick MacDonald was returned from Malta using an European Arrest Warrant issued by Lewes Crown Court after he broke the terms of his suspended sentence for assaulting two girls in Shoreham.

Sussex was on the front line of the second world war, including the RAF flying missions out of Shoreham, Westhampnett and Tangmere (with Polish pilots fighting, and dying, alongside British pilots). After 1,000 years of European wars the post-second world war era has seen unprecedented peace including the fall of military dictatorships in Greece, Spain and Portugal and the fall of the Iron Curtain.

These countries have subsequently been welcomed into the family of democratic nations in the EU.

Seeing the UK as part of the EU doesn’t make you any less patriotic. Wanting the UK to join with the rest of Europe in solving international challenges doesn’t make you less British.

Learn from history and step confidently into the future by voting to Remain in the EU on June 23.

Ian Walker

EU Referendum Officer

Worthing West Constituency Labour Party

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