Stay­ing in the EU means a fairer UK

Rutherglen Reformer - - News from the Pews - Mar­garet Fer­rier

Last week, I joined First Min­is­ter Nicola Stur­geon at the foot of the Em­me­line and Christa­bel Pankhurst Memo­rial in Vic­to­ria Tower Gar­dens at West­min­ster.

As­sem­bled there also were sev­eral of my party col­leagues, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, Green MP Caro­line Lu­cas, and a large con­tin­gent of press and me­dia.

We had gath­ered for the launch of the pro­gres­sive case for the UK’s EU mem­ber­ship.

Too much of the cam­paign on both sides has been quite neg­a­tive so far, and hasn’t re­ally pro­vided clear an­swers for vot­ers.

Our pro­gres­sive cam­paign seeks to spell out the clear rea­sons why peo­ple should vote to re­main part of the Euro­pean Union in a few weeks time.

We be­lieve that mem­ber­ship of the EU is a vi­tal part of em­bed­ding the rights and pro­tec­tions that we all de­pend upon.

I un­der­stand the con­cerns that some peo­ple have in re­la­tion to the EU, and whilst I ac­knowl­edge it is not per­fect, I be­lieve that the ben­e­fits are sig­nif­i­cant.

The EU also gives all of us the free­dom to live, work, study and re­tire in any of its 28 mem­ber coun­tries.

That en­ti­tles all of us to an in­cred­i­ble free­dom of move­ment.

Whilst this free­dom is re­gret­tably at­tacked by those on the other side of the de­bate, I be­lieve it has been hugely ben­e­fi­cial to so­ci­ety and our econ­omy.

The UK Govern­ment must do more to en­sure that this free­dom works for all.

This free­dom is a great thing for all of our young peo­ple.

They are able to ex­plore the en­tire con­ti­nent with rel­a­tive ease, im­mers­ing them­selves in other cul­tures, and re­turn­ing back to Scot­land ready to con­trib­ute to our in­ter­na­tion­al­ist and out­ward-look­ing so­ci­ety.

The EU is a good thing for work­ing peo­ple across the UK.

It is re­spon­si­ble for the rules which limit the amount of hours we have to work, which pro­vide equal treat­ment for part-time and agency work­ers, and which guar­an­tee health and safety in the work­place.

Our mem­ber­ship of the Euro­pean Union con­tin­ues to be a good thing for women.

From ma­ter­nity and pa­ter­nity leave for par­ents, work­place rights dur­ing preg­nancy, to rules pro­tect­ing against ha­rass­ment and un­equal treat­ment, women in Bri­tain ben­e­fit from the EU.

Th­ese rules are to be cher­ished and pro­tected, and we must not al­low them to be eroded.

The EU re­ally mat­ters to all of us, all of the time.

It’s our right to get home from work in time to see our fam­i­lies, it’s the air that we breathe, it’s clean beaches on our hol­i­days – and the free­dom to travel visafree, it’s equal­ity be­tween men and women in the work­place and it’s the his­tor­i­cal anom­aly of liv­ing in a Europe of last­ing peace be­tween neigh­bours.

I en­cour­age all of my con­stituents to think long and hard about the im­por­tant de­ci­sion ahead of them on June 23, and to make their de­ci­sion based on facts rather than fear mon­ger­ing.

A vote to re­main is one for a fairer, more pros­per­ous, greener and safer UK.

Too much of the cam­paign on both sides has been quite neg­a­tive

United front Mar­garet Fer­rier MP (sec­ond from right) with Nicola Stur­geon and other politi­cians who are back­ing a re­main vote in the EU ref­er­en­dum

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