Richard's Statement on the EU Referendum

Richard Harrington MP to campaign to remain in the European Union

Richard Harrington MP for Watford, has announced that he will be voting for Britain to remain in the European Union in advance of the referendum to be held on 23 June 2016.

In a statement he said:

“I have believed for many years that the best way to protect our jobs and maintain our security is to remain inside a reformed European Union, and to continue to work to reform it from within. That David Cameron was able to secure a special status for us - not part of an ‘ever closer union’, no part in bail outs for the Eurozone, Parliament blocking unwanted EU laws and keeping the pound, shows that change is possible and that we can influence reform inside the EU.  

Businesses and families need certainty and stability. Remaining inside the Single Market provides that stable foundation for prosperity. Looking at Watford as an example of this, several multinational companies are headquartered here because they can have the best of both worlds: a talented workforce and easy access to the Single Market, one of the world’s largest and most successful trading blocs. Half of our trade is with Europe and millions of jobs rely on this trade. This is not the time to put those jobs and our economy at risk.

David Cameron’s project of reform was necessary and it will continue to be. We all have those moments of frustration with the EU, but we know what those problems are and our Government and representatives in Europe work to resolve them. We do not know what ‘Out’ will bring. Many people are frustrated with European migration to the UK and pressures on housing, schools and infrastructure; others are concerned about the financial costs of being a member of the EU. But being outside the EU doesn’t automatically resolve these problems.From what we have seen, no country has been able to get full trading access to Europe without accepting either paying into the EU or accepting free movement of workers. Alongside that, we would continue to be bound by their regulations on goods we sell to Europe, but lose our seats in forums that determine these rules.

Europeans in Britain add a huge amount to our country, just as British ex-pats in Europe do. But it’s unfair when people come here and can immediately access our welfare system, so it is right that this has been reformed. Child Benefit sent overseas will be reduced and EU migrants will not be eligible for in-work benefits for their first 4 years here. They also cannot claim Job Seeker’s benefits whilst looking for a job and will have to leave the country if after 6 months they have not found work.

Just as we don’t know what ‘Leave’ would look like, we do not know which challenges lie ahead for our country. But one thing we do know is that they will require a coordinated response. Of course, we would continue to do this at the G7 and NATO. But why extricate ourselves from our close neighbours, who face the same threats from terrorism, Climate Change and Russian aggression as us?  The global environment right now is so fractious, violent and unpredictable that I believe we must continue to work with our allies as closely as we can. And we must remain close allies, because the peace we enjoy with our neighbours is invaluable. As my late father who served in the war knew well, it was once unimaginable. The European Union as a concept alone has not brought that peace, but the forum for discussion between 28 nations it has provided and the free trade which is at its core, have assured this.

My vote is just one of millions which will be cast on 23 June and we all have an important choice to make. Your view might by different to mine and I respect that absolutely. However I will be voting for Britain to remain a member and I would encourage you to do the same.”