• EU Referendum

    I am committed to keeping the UK in the European Union as I believe it is the best framework for European trade and co-operation in the 21st century. That is why I have agreed to be the StrongerIn North West Political Champion.

    The agreement of a deal on the UK’s renegotiation of our membership on 19th February brings worthwhile changes. While I would have liked to have seen the deal include more to address the real challenges of low pay in Britain and the undercutting of local wage rates, the case for our membership of the EU is much bigger than this new agreement.

    The EU has brought investment, jobs and protection for workers, consumers and the environment. Independent research has shown that EU membership is worth £ 13.5 billion every year to the North West in increased trade and Centre for Economic and Business Research figures show that 477,005 jobs are linked to the EU. Under the EU Youth Employment Initiative in the North West, Merseyside also receives £22.2m of funding to help get young people back to work.

    The strength that we derive from being part of the biggest consumer market in the world means that the average family saves around £450 a year due to lower prices. The UK is also stronger negotiating deals with countries like China and the United States as part of a group of 28 EU nations than we would be on our own.

    I agree that reform is needed, the European Union isn’t perfect. No partnership is. But the benefits outweigh the costs and this deal makes Britain even stronger in Europe than we would be out of it.

    If we were to leave the EU, the UK would still have to follow its rules when doing business there but would no longer have a say in making the rules. Issues facing us as a country in the 21st century are often global in nature, such as tackling climate change, cyber-crime and terrorism, and the EU will be a vital part of how we meet these challenges.

    I am convinced that remaining in the EU is in the best interests of the country and our people, not only for what the EU delivers today, but as a framework through which we can achieve much more in the future.