Former Worcester MP, Mike Foster, who served the City from 1997 to 2010 has today outlined his reasons for supporting the “Remain In” campaign ahead of the forthcoming EU Referendum.

Mr Foster has written an open letter to the local media outlining the economic, social and security case for the UK remaining a part of the EU. This follows his appearance at Worcester Sixth Form College’s EU Question Time last week.

Commenting on why he has written, Mr Foster said:

“Ballot papers will shortly be issued to postal voters, as this referendum gets closer. I could not in all honesty sit back and allow the vote to take place without letting the people who I served for thirteen years know what I thought. I could have had a quiet life, but I didn’t do that as Worcester’s MP and this decision is too important to ignore.”

“I hope to have outlined some of the reasons for remaining in and knowing the City as I do, I fully appreciate what the impact of leaving would be. Economic instability may be loved by predators out to make a quick buck, but not by the average working family. Brexit, as it is called, brings huge risks with no certain benefits.”

“Whether people voted for me in the past, or not, I urge everyone to use their vote to Remain In.”

The full letter:

It would be easy for me as a “recovering politician” to enjoy a quiet life and not engage in the debate over Britain’s relationship with the EU, but those that remember my time as MP for Worcester for 13 years, taking the easy option isn’t me. I cannot idly sit back and allow the referendum to take place without sharing my thoughts. I care too much about the City, the County and the Country to say nothing.

That is why I am writing to state unequivocally that I believe Worcester, Worcestershire and the UK are all better off in Europe. Membership of the EU brings us jobs, growth and investment, protects workers and consumers and helps keep us safe. Leaving would put that all at risk and diminish our influence in the world.

The EU is by far the UK’s largest trading partner and the world’s largest single market. Half our exports go to EU countries, worth over £200 billion a year. Over three million British jobs are linked to this trade, 250,000 in the West Midlands alone. We receive around £24 billion of investment a year from other EU countries and the Treasury predict the average household would be £4300 a year worse off if Britain left the EU. And we would need to renegotiate our trading agreement. We would be forced to accept the same rules (at best) of the EU, as Norway does, but we would have no say in making those rules. We would have to pay to the EU, again as Norway does, but have no say. Having had the honour of representing the UK in Ministerial Council meetings, having ‘a say’ matters. Being a rule maker is always better than just a rule taker.

Being in the EU means working people in Worcester have their rights protected to key benefits such as paid holiday, maternity leave and health and safety in the workplace. That is why the major trade unions in the UK are actively campaigning to remain in.  When we go shopping, EU consumer protection rules mean we are better protected. Ahead of the summer holidays, it is worth remembering that passenger air fares and mobile phone roaming rates are cheaper being in and environmental standards of Britain’s beaches are higher as a result of EU action.

Being in the EU gives us a stronger voice internationally -; from the USA to China, from Canada to India, we have been encouraged to remain in. Working with other EU countries is the best way to stop would-be terrorists entering Europe. We still have control over our borders and being in the EU enabled the UK to move Britain’s border control to Calais from Dover.

I come from a lucky generation. My life has not been touched by conflict in the same way as that of my parents and grandparents. The EU, an institution that arose from the ending of the Second World War, has been instrumental in securing peace and stability to our continent. For our children and future generations, I urge you (whether you ever voted for me or not) to vote to Remain In.

Mike Foster

(MP for Worcester 1997 -; 2010)


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