Issued for immediate release 21st June 2016
STATEMENT FROM JOAN RYAN MP: I urge the Tamil community to vote Remain in the EU Referendum
On Thursday 23rd June, you will have the opportunity to cast your vote on the biggest decision our country has faced for a generation.
I urge you to join me in voting for the UK to remain a member of the European Union.
Working with our European partners gives us more control, not less; it makes us stronger, not weaker. By being in the EU we have greater power to deal with the issues that matter, whether that be workers’ rights, anti-discrimination, equality, immigration, democracy and human rights.
I know the great concerns the Tamil community in the UK has about the situation for your friends and family in Sri Lanka. The best way for us to support the voices calling for truth, reconciliation and sustainable peace in the country is to work collectively with our European Union allies and with Tamil communities living in countries across the EU. Voting to leave, and destabilising the European Union, will weaken our ability to influence President Sirisena and his government.
Some people are considering voting to leave the EU because of concerns relating to immigration and the pressure this might be placing on our public services and amenities.
There will not be a dramatic cut in the number of people coming to the UK if we vote to leave.
On-going access to the EU’s single market – which allows for the free movement of goods and services and benefits so many Tamil businesses, small and large – would almost definitely be conditional on continuing to allow the free movement of labour. Norway, which is outside the EU but has access to the single market, has far higher levels of EU immigration than the UK as a proportion of their populations and has no say and no vote on EU rules.
Last year net migration was higher from outside the EU than from within it. Even where the UK can restrict numbers coming into the country, there is more non-EU immigration than EU immigration. And I do not want to see the UK impose unnecessary barriers which could severely restrict the ability of Tamil students coming from Europe to study in the country.
The National Health Service is one of our most important institutions, but it is really struggling at the moment due to the cuts imposed by the Conservative government. It is not immigration which is causing problems in the NHS; indeed our hospitals and doctors’ surgeries would not be able to function at all without the dedicated work of thousands of doctors and nurses from overseas.
Likewise, the levels of immigration into this country have not caused the shortage in affordable homes. We are in the grip of a housing crisis because, under this government, house building has fallen to the lowest levels since the 1920s.
The solution to these problems will come by choosing to elect a Labour government in 2020 – who will deliver genuinely affordable homes, support our public services, back our small businesses and introduce a fairer immigration system– and not by choosing to leave the EU this week.
I believe a vote to Remain in the EU on 23rd June is in the best interests of our communities.
Vote remain to help shape a brighter future for our country as a leading member of the European Union.
For more information, contact:
Sen Kandiah, Chair – Tamils for Labour
Telephone: 07793 491 275 (number not for publication)
Notes for editors:
- Rt. Hon Joan Ryan MP is the Labour Member of Parliament for Enfield North. She is a Vice Chair of the Tamil All Party Parliamentary Group and is the former Chief Executive and Police Advisor to Global Tamil Forum.
- A library photo of Joan Ryan MP is enclosed.
- You can find out more about the ‘Labour In for Britain’ campaign via the following weblink: http://www.labour.org.uk/inforbritain