Letter from Parliament - Jim Dobbin MP
Date published: 01 November 2011
I received around 20 requests from constituents to support a referendum on the E.U. mostly generated by the Daily Express euro-sceptic campaign. I have over 81,000 constituents who made no contact. Enough said. Labour’s position on E.U. Membership is based on what is best for the continued prosperity of the U.K. Britain should be focused on jobs and growth, not cutting ourselves off from major export markets that British jobs depend on. I believe there would have to be a referendum if a future government ever wanted to make a major constitutional change like joining the Euro. Labour did not seek a mandate for this referendum at the last election and we do not wish to leave the European Union. I do not believe the case for this referendum has been made and believe that it would create uncertainty that could put at risk investment in the U. K. 3.5 million jobs are linked directly or indirectly to U.K. trade with the rest of the European Union according to official analysis. European markets account for half of the U.K.’s overall exports of goods and services. 8 out of 10 of the U.K.’s main exports are in the European Union. The Confederation of British Industry, The British Chambers of Commerce and The Trade Unions would not wish to leave the E. U. Don’t forget it was a Conservative Prime Minister, Ted Heath who led us into Europe. It was Mrs. Thatcher who embraced the wider E.U. market. It was Gordon Brown who sensibly refused to join the Euro. We now see the coalition Government wishing to change some employment rights that British workers now have because we signed up to the Social Chapter. Many of these employment improvements would be lost if we leave the E.U.
I also feel that the E-petition system is a con and no way to run the country. The Right wing media love whipping up campaigns to test the system. I am waiting for 100 000 signatures requesting parliament to debate the X-factor or Big Brother. I wouldn’t be shocked to see this.
Deep despair in the recent vote in the Lords on the Health Bill brings us closer to the breaking up of the National Health Service. Many Lib-Dem peers, who had threatened to revolt, either supported the Government line or sat on their hands. Once again the Lib-Dems caved in to pressure from Cameron. Labour along with G.P’s , Nurses, Mid-wives and other health professionals will continue to oppose the dangerous bill but it seems like time is running out if we want to save the National Health Service.
Christine Abbott and Mal McColl, from the Desmene Community Centre, came down to Parliament recently to lobby on behalf of Breast Cancer Campaign. Both Christine and Mal are leading lights on behalf of breast cancer patients locally and across the U.K. They both do a remarkable job. Thank goodness for people like them.
I had to attend a 3 day British/Irish assembly in Brighton last week. It was set up to help with the peace process in Ireland. It is currently changing its role and now considers a wider agenda to help consolidate that peace process. Next week I have to go to Bangladesh to take part in the launch of a vaccine against pneumonia in very young children. I chair the relevant committee in Parliament. The vaccination programme is sponsored by some Governments, including the U.K. It is heavily supported financially by the Bill Gate Foundation and has the backing of U.N.E.S.C.O. Bill Gates is also helping to fund a programme to eradicate Malaria. The hope is to repeat the eradication of Polio and Small Pox in previous vaccination programmes. Many thousands of children die of pneumonia in developing countries every year. We cannot allow that to continue. When I return from Bangladesh we have a short Parliamentary recess recently agreed, I voted against the need for this particular recess.
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