Michael Gove is wrong – we’re better off in the European Union

As new EU laws on tax avoidance, data protection and terrorism show


The starting gun has officially been fired on the referendum campaign, and in ten weeks’ time we’ll know the result.

During the campaign, Labour MEPs will continue to make the case for our membership, and demonstrate the difference Labour makes in Europe, as we have done this week, in the fight against terrorism and tax evasion.

This week in Strasbourg, the European Parliament voted for new EU laws to combat terrorism, and the European Commission announced new proposals to tackle tax-dodging – issues on which Labour MEPs have led calls for action and secured parliamentary and Commission backing.

The EU passenger name record (PNR) regulations will play an important role in enabling European countries to fight terrorism and keep citizens safe by ensuring data is shared more widely, enhancing national security, while the EU data protection laws, also voted through this week, will protect and safeguard people’s privacy and personal data.

Labour’s Claude Moraes MEP, chair of the civil liberties committee, has been instrumental in securing the package on PNR and data protection. Labour MEPs believe PNR, though not a silver bullet, can be a useful tool in the fight against terrorism if the data collected is used and shared effectively by law enforcement agencies, and ensures EU citizens’ privacy is protected.

And on tax, the Commission this week announced measures to tackle tax avoidance and evasion by multinational corporations, including public country-by-country reporting and a common list of tax havens – measures proposed by Labour and backed by MEPs.

By making companies publicly declare where they make their profits and where they pay their tax, the new plans aim to ensure they play by the same rules throughout Europe. And the new list of tax havens, which will be based on objective criteria, will deliver greater transparency.

On all these issues, and more, it is only by cooperating with other countries that we can best achieve change, and deliver a fairer, safer society.

As Jeremy Corbyn made clear yesterday, and as Unison have come out and said this week, the best way to protect our rights and jobs is to be in the European Union – just imagine a post-Brexit world in which the likes of Michael Gove, Iain Duncan Smith and Boris Johnson are in charge. Would we be safer? Would our workplace rights be protected? Would our jobs be secure?

And would the NHS receive an extra £350 million a day if we left the EU, the latest myth the Leave campaign are peddling? The answer to all these questions is of course no. More money for the NHS? The hypocrisy of these right-wing shrink-the-state Tories is staggering.

There are no circumstances under which working people will be better off or safer outside the EU – especially not under a hard-right Tory government.

Over the next ten weeks, Labour MEPs will continue to work hard in Brussels, Strasbourg and in our constituencies, and, along with Jeremy Corbyn, Alan Johnson, Labour Party members, activists and trade unionists, will continue to make the case for our membership of the European Union. It’s a fight we cannot and will not lose.

Glenis Willmott MEP is Labour’s leader in the European Parliament. Follow her on Twitter @GlenisWillmott

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.

12 Responses to “Michael Gove is wrong – we’re better off in the European Union”

  1. Neil

    “And would the NHS receive an extra £350 million a day if we left the EU, the latest myth the Leave campaign are peddling?”

    Who’s said this please?

  2. Dave Stewart

    I’ve heard this £350 million a day (the supposed cost of EU membership) be offered to no less than 3 different things to date by the various Brexit groups. First I heard it promised to the NHS, then I’ve heard it promised to military and security spending and then I’ve heard it promised to Science funding.

    So which is it? Is it health, security or science that will be getting this extra money?

    That of course doesn’t even mention the suggestion made by some that this money could be used to pay down the deficit.

    While the EU may have some problems and it is true that the In campaign needs to start saying what the EU is good for as well as pointing out the potential downfalls of leaving to date the Brexit campaign appears to be entirely based a wishful thinking and it does not inspire much confidence hearing the many promises (sometimes conflicting) being doled out to every interest group there is.

  3. Neil

    Nobody I’ve heard has used this figure (it would equate to over £100 Billion a year contribution, which is clearly incorrect)

    Glenis has just made it up. But then, coming from someone who doesn’t know the difference between tax avoidance and tax evasion, this shouldn’t be a surprise.

  4. Cole

    As most of the right wingers in the Brexit leadership have expressed hostility to the NHS, it’s just more dishonesty from the Leave mob.

  5. Eric

    Sorry but I don’t see why any of the measures/initiatives listed above are things that the UK couldn’t be part of if it were not an EU member. The article plays into the Brexit argument quite neatly really. Why don’t we just make our own laws, ones which our own elected Government wants, rather than have laws imposed on us by a remote body whose workings we have no visibility of or direct control over?

  6. Jimmy Glesga

    We pay 751 MEP’S a fortune and they are surplus to requirement. The EU allows terrorists into the EU then goes chasing after them. The EU is a danger to its citizens and the British. Time for this useless gravy train to end.

  7. Julian

    Anyone who seriously imagines that any savings from leaving the EU will go into the NHS is living in fairyland, quite frankly. It will be squandered in more tax cuts targeted precisely at the people who least need them.

  8. Ted

    History has proven the only meaningful and long lasting change has been brought about by struggle and usually confutation. As a revolutionary Marxist I strongly believe in the struggle by any means of the working class to over throw the ruling elite. Gove IDS are willing fools which we should exploit, we believe leaving the EU will bring about a catastrophic collapse of the economy, the attacks on working people by the hard right after they win the referendum will bring people on to the streets, this could be the best chance to see off the right and the ruling elite in 100 years we must take the opportunity Brexit gives us, come the October revolution we can win, support Brexit. Let Gove, IDS and Johnson do their work for us a reap the rewards.

  9. David Davies

    The REAL power is wielded by untouchables like Murdoch. The EU is not responsible for

    the deliberately manufactures crises in Health & Education

    bombing Syria, then wondering why terrified citizens want to escape to Europe

    Trident, HS2, 3rd Runway, and other huge public expenditure projects – mainly of benefit to a small area of the country .

    vanity projects only of benefit to The Only Place That Matters – garden bridge, Palmyra Arch, Air Line, purge of the poor by gentrification, part time Olympics and its long forgotten `legacy’, refurbishment of both houses of ill-repute.

    TTIP is the biggest concern about the EU, and we hear barely a breath about it – from anyone.

  10. Mike Stallard

    Are you honestly saying that the EU is a socialist body? Honestly?
    It really is not 20 million Euros were spent on lobbying last year and 120 or so got back. this is a rich men (and women)’s club. You only have to look at the salaries to see that – and the secrecy and unelectability are wide open o severe elitist corruption too.

  11. wg

    Well said Mike Stallard.

    I’ve watched with incredulity how Labour has tied its horse to this bandwagon whilst insisting that the European Union is good for the working class people of this country – and a lot of other countries for that matter.

    The EU has five presidents that nobody has voted for; it has departments that nobody has voted for; numerous bureaucrats who are unaccountable to anybody but the EU hierarchy – all running around in limousines driven by a new breed of “security chauffeurs”, and all paid salaries well beyond the dreams of the plebs at the bottom.

    Glenis Wilmott is no representative of the people at the bottom of the pile – she represents this awful self-serving political elite.

  12. Cole

    People on the left considering voting for Brexit should consider who their comrades in arms are – IDS, Gove, Howard, Lawson, Farage, and a bunch of other nasties. Why do these people back leaving the EU? It’s because it will give them the opportunity to rip up our employment, environmental and other social protections.

Leave a Reply