Labour positive at Euro vote outcome
By Graham DinesPolitical EditorDESPITE crumbling opinion poll ratings, Labour's East of England candidates for next month's European Parliament elections set our on their inaugural regional tour yesterday full of confidence that two of them will be elected.
By Graham Dines
DESPITE crumbling opinion poll ratings, Labour's East of England candidates for next month's European Parliament elections set our on their inaugural regional tour yesterday full of confidence that two of them will be elected.
Lead candidates Richard Howitt and Beth Kelly led the roadshow to Ipswich, Basildon, Stevenage and Cambridge as they put out Labour's core message that the European Union is vital to the future prosperity of the region.
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Ms Kelly said 500,000 jobs in the six counties of the Euro constituency depended directly on UK membership of the EU. "There are 1,500 companies trading with European nations producing £10bn income for the region.
"The best way to protect these jobs and trade is to ensure a strong Labour presence in the European Parliament – we believe it is in Britain's national interest that the country is a leading player in Europe."
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Richard Howitt, who has been a Euro MP for 10 years, added: "Labour will work to boost trade for our companies, win new investment and defend local jobs.
"By threatening to isolate Britain in Europe, the Conservatives would put this all at risk."
Mr Howitt continued: "Labour recognises that by being part of Europe, Britain is stronger in the world. Labour Euro MPs have backed and will continue to back strong inter-regional links between the East of England and other parts of Europe.
"We will fight to win European support for better transport links to our key ports at Felixstowe, Harwich, Great Yarmouth and Tilbury."
EU funding of around £½billion in the past five years had created hundreds of jobs across the region, both in urban and rural areas.
He added: "While the Tories seek to frighten people with wholly false stories about migration from eastern Europe, Labour is proud to have been at the forefront of campaigning for the enlargement of the EU – securing peace and democracy for us all."
Polling day is June 10 and the elections will be fought using the closed list system of proportional representation.