By Glenis Willmott
The European Elections on the 4th June will be a crucial national election for Labour as well as for Britain. For Labour people the values that we work on at local and national level are impossible to achieve without working with the same vigour and vision at European level as we do in our Councils and in government.
From high levels of protection at work, to fighting discrimination and building a sustainable future, Labour acts at European level on the issues that Britain cannot face alone.
David Cameron’s group of MEPs would have you believe that we can just ignore issues from Women’s rights to international development and some of them do not even think that climate change is happening. I’m sure you’ve read about it by now but the Tory MEPs have had big problems in their ranks because some were fiddling their expenses – so they had to swap their European Parliament leader three times in one year!
Those of us close to these issues see these negatives, but more importantly, we see the positives of Labour action at European level. However, one of the major challenges of being an MEP is communicating this information to a very large constituency, especially when the parliament you work in is based in Brussels and even moves country once a month to Strasbourg!
I was struck recently by a European survey, which showed that 81% of British citizens felt badly informed about the work of the European Parliament. Having been elected as leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party I have pledged to work hard with my colleagues to make sure that Labour supporters are well-informed. I want to see our campaigners up and down the country armed with the arguments on why having a strong Labour team in the European Parliament matters for Britain.
One element of this is to address the presence of Labour MEPs online. Nothing will ever beat championing the Labour cause on the doorstep, face to face, but we all know that having access to information that matters is crucial to helping make the case for labour. That is why we have re launched Euro Labour.
Please sign up for details on how you can find out more from your Labour MEP on what they have delivered. From better working conditions, stronger environmental protection and fighting on the equalities agenda, Labour values are driving forward a positive agenda in Brussels.
I hope that the new EPLP website helps all of our constituents and supporters to get more information on our work in the European Parliament. Most of all, I hope that you get in touch to find out more from your MEP. Labour MEPs are on hand to give you the reasons to get out knocking on doors in the run up to June 4th and fighting to get more Labour politicians in the European Parliament. Just get in touch to find out what’s at stake on 4th June.
Glenis Willmott MEP is Leader of the European Parliamentary Labour Party.