Dan Jarvis MP: Why I am making the patriotic case to stay in the EU

THE referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union on 23 June is a choice that will define the future of both Yorkshire and the United Kingdom.

Former paratrooper and Labour MP Dan Jarvis. Laura Lean/PA Wire

The impact of Brexit on our economy and our security will be profound and permanent. That is why I am making the patriotic case to secure our interest in a changing world. By choosing to lead, not leave.

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Yorkshire has a proud history of leading in the world.

I think of William Wilberforce, who represented the county in Parliament and whose work led to the abolition of slavery.

I think of Harold Wilson, a native son of Huddersfield, who lead our country through a social revolution and campaigned as Prime Minister for us to remain in the European Union when our country last voted on this important issue.

And I think of the man I served with during my time with the British Army in the Balkans – General Sir Mike Jackson, born and raised in Sheffield, who led the NATO forces in Kosovo.

My time serving alongside General Jackson in Kosovo taught me something about the fragility of peace in Europe.

It taught me the value and the importance of the team. Of standing with your neighbours and allies, to work in partnership with others to achieve a common goal.

We should be in no doubt that being part of the EU is both a strategic and an economic asset to Britain.

From counter-terrorism to intelligence sharing and diplomacy, cooperation with Europe still provides Britain additional tools to further our interests in a changing world.

This is more important than ever at a time where we see an increasingly belligerent regime in Russia led by Vladimir Putin and an emerging nuclear state in North Korea led by the erratic and unpredictable Kim Jong-Un.

The EU also bolsters our domestic security. From Peshawar to Paris, too often we have been reminded that terrorist networks pay no attention to lines on a map.

It is only through the EU that we can use a networked approach to both reduce our vulnerabilities and attack the terrorist organisations themselves. Acting not through isolationism but through partnership.

We all remember the summer of 2005, when Hussain Osman unsuccessfully attempted to replicate the terrorist attacks of a fortnight earlier by placing a bomb on the London Underground.

It was because of the European Arrest Warrant, and co-operation with our EU allies, that Osman was arrested in an apartment in Rome.

Today, Osman is serving life in prison because of an EU wide legal framework which ensures evidence is gathered so that it is admissible in British courtrooms.

And when it comes to our economic security we are also better off in the EU.

Yorkshire makes a huge contribution in helping the UK lead the world in defence manufacturing, research and development. The industry employs thousands of people across the county.

These are highly skilled, well paid jobs and they support supply chains stretching across Yorkshire and beyond.

These are jobs that would be at risk if Britain left the EU.

Sir Roger Carr, the Chairman of BAE Systems who have sites in both Leeds and Brough, has been clear about the effect Brexit will have. He said: “Brexit will dislocate trading relationships and derail economic growth.”

This is backed up by the Treasury analysis released earlier this week, which showed that 43,000 jobs could be lost in Yorkshire alone if we left the EU and youth unemployment could rise by as much as 6,000.

This is not a situation I want to see on the streets of my constituency in Barnsley or in any of the towns or cities across Yorkshire.

So the choice we face is between greater security and global influence as part of the EU, or a period of prolonged uncertainty and permanent retrenchment by walking away.

For the Leave campaign to assert that both everything will change, but nothing will change is not simply a contradiction. It fails our collective duty to serve the national interest.

That is why the patriotic choice is for a Britain that continues to lead in the world by leading in Europe. To do otherwise would not only limit the opportunities of our children and grandchildren, but their ability to meet the challenges of tomorrow. So this is the moment to decide whether we want to be great or little Britain.

I firmly believe that the strength, stability and security brought by our membership of the EU is the only responsible choice. So with pride and confidence in Britain, we must vote to remain on June 23rd.

Dan Jarvis is the Labour MP for Barnsley Central.

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