East Ham MP Stephen Timms is fighting to remain in the EU despite its imperfections

East Ham MP Stephen Timms.

East Ham MP Stephen Timms. - Credit: Archant

The referendum on Britain’s EU membership is approaching fast.

I am campaigning in East Ham for a vote to remain in the EU on June 23.

EU membership boosts Britain’s prosperity, safety and security. Three million UK jobs are linked with trade with the EU, 650,000 of them in London.

A lot of investment into the UK - and into east London - depends on our being in the European single market, including the average £24 billion per year investment from other EU countries. It would be at risk if we left.

The Treasury estimates the average household will be £4,300 worse off a year if we leave. Some people say that’s nonsense. I’ve read the Treasury’s assessment, and their estimate strikes me as very reasonable. The UK economy would take a severe hit if we left.

The European Arrest Warrant was introduced in 2004. Since then, criminals in Britain fleeing to the continent, have quickly been extradited to the UK, and vice versa. Before the EU agreement, extradition could take years. It’s an example of the EU helping keep Britain safe.

And - from terrorism to climate change - more and more pressing challenges require international cooperation. This is no time to walk away from our key international partnership.

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The EU has proved a bulwark in safeguarding workers’ rights too. If we left, the Tories would be free to launch an assault on workplace protections which are, at the moment, guaranteed in EU law.

Of course, more EU reform is needed. But Britain’s interests are best served by staying in and wielding influence from the inside, not by walking out.

To speak to me about our EU membership, look out for the Labour Party’s Saturday morning street stalls in East Ham High Street. More from Stephen