Lots of local jobs in Wyre Forest rely on Europe.Yet all of us know Europe needs to change.That's why if I was elected the local MP for Wyre Forest, I would want Europe to work better for Britain.
Unlike the Tories, Labour has an agenda for reform in Europe, not exit from Europe.This month Ed Miliband has set out the reforms that a Labour government would be pushing for from day one in Government. First, we want a Europe of growth and jobs, not a Europe of austerity and unemployment. Labour would work with British businesses – through the CBI – to secure new opportunities for British exporters. That would boost the UK economy in the years ahead, and create new jobs. Second, Labour will work to reform the rules that allow citizens of new member states being able to come and work here in the UK.
EU citizens who come to work here in Britain should contribute to our society as well as our economy. That is why Labour would double the length of time before an EU citizen would be eligible for Job Seekers Allowance, and work to make it easier to automatically deport someone who commits a crime shortly after they arrive in this country. Labour has also announced that we will take action to ensure the minimum wage is properly enforced, close loopholes in rules for agency workers, and look at EU directives designed to prevent undercutting and a race to the bottom. But this week, Ed Miliband has also announced that the next Labour government will legislate for a lock that ensures in the future, no major transfer of powers can happen without the public’s consent. This would not just be a referendum to ratify a decision on powers - instead it would be an in/out referendum, with a clear choice for the public to make on our membership of the EU. It is bad for Britain that David Cameron seems to be spending more time negotiating with his backbenchers than negotiating with other European leaders. His weakness in the Tory Party means David Cameron has been forced into saying that in 24 months he is going to try and convince 27 other countries to support a fundamental redesign of Europe that none of them support. David Cameron just can’t be trusted on Europe: he can’t tell us what he is negotiating for, he has no strategy for achieving change and he can’t tell us whether he will vote yes or no. Businesses—from the CBI to Nissan to DHL—are worried about the country drifting to exit. That is the danger of where the Tory party is heading. So after Ed Miliband’s speech this week, it is clear that the dividing line on the EU is not simply status quo vs change. The choice in 2015 is between a Conservative Party fast unravelling over Europe, and a Labour Party united in working to make the EU work better for Britain.
Dr Matt Lamb, Labour Prospective Parliamentary Candidate for Wyre Forest