Promoted by Mark Ward-Jones on behalf of the Torfaen Constituency Labour Party at 27 Brunel Road, Fairwater, Cwmbran, Torfaen NP44 4QT.
Welcome to the February 2016 edition of my enewsletter.
We are entering an important few weeks for Wales and the United Kingdom, Donald Tusk has put a draft of the UK-EU deal on the table. This is less important for what is says, and more important because of what it signifies. This deal has been more about papering over the cracks in the Tory party and it was only through the efforts of the Labour Party and the Trade Unions that we have been successful in ensuring that workers’ rights were not under discussion.
These negotiations must not distract us from the important work of now defending those rights by winning this referendum. Your rights to holidays, to breaks, a mother’s right to maternity leave are all threatened by an Out vote.
The greater importance of this deal being published is that it signals that we may be only weeks away from knowing when this vote could be. This referendum is not on Cameron’s deal but on the future of Wales within the EU and we must campaign with all of our strength to maintain our place in Europe and put the UK at the top table of European politics where it belongs.
Labour is fully committed to campaigning to remain in the EU, a position unanimously approved at our last national conference. This campaign is already being waged up and down the country; UKIP has been claiming that the other British political parties voted down their amendments to TTIP (EU-US Trade deal) which they claim would have “protected the NHS”. This is pure political grandstanding by UKIP to disguise their appalling attendance record at the Committees of the European Parliament. If they attended meetings more regularly they might have known that in fact the Labour Party had already amended the Parliament report to protect ALL public services in the EU before their amendment.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing a very real example of the importance of the European Union to Wales.
On the 29th of January I visited Aberystwyth University and was shown around the proposed site of the new Innovation and Enterprise Campus at Gorgeddgan. This project is only possible because of the £20 million that the University will receive in structural funds for the project from the EU. This project will create over 100 new jobs in the area and shows once again that the EU is backing every area of Wales, and giving them the tools to succeed. This one example highlights what we gain from the EU, real investment in communities in Wales where the UK Government fails to act.
As many of you will be aware Welsh Labour Conference is taking place on the 19th-21st of this month. It is always a pleasure to visit Llandudno and the excellent Venue Cymru, (incidentally partly financed with European funding). There will be a full array of European related events at the Conference. I will be hosting a fringe event on the Saturday afternoon at 5.30 pm “Creating a Social Europe – how can we make the EU work better for the workers?”. There will also be a training session hosted by Welsh Labour at 9.30am on the Sunday to help prepare you with campaigning during the European referendum.
Also, please find the Frequently Asked Questions Pack attached, I have produced this pack to provide you with the latest information on EU issues in an accessible format. It is vital that we are all prepared for this referendum. It may well occur close to the Welsh Assembly election, but it is critical that we do not lose sight of its importance for Wales regardless of the date.
Member of the European Parliament