At a public meeting in Banbury organised by Banbury & Bicester Labour Party on 26 May 2016, Lord Stewart Wood, a Labour member of the House of Lords and an Oxford academic, made a strong case in support of staying in Europe.
Lord Wood said he was passionately pro-Europe although there is much that is not right, and warned that the next ten years would not be “all sweetness and light.”
He covered three areas: the economic benefits, the policy challenges facing Europe that required collaboration, and the UK’s security needs.
He said there was a boost to our economy by being in Europe, which has created 3.3 million jobs.
He cited the following challenges facing Europe, which he said could only be solved by working within Europe:
- A stagnant economy
- Crime and terrorism
- Refugee crisis
- Energy supply and energy security
- Tax evasion and avoidance
- Resisting a race to the bottom over workers’ rights
In terms of UK’s security needs he said the EU’s promotion of democracy was one of its greatest successes, but referred to a number of security issues – Russia, Middle East and the instability in Turkey, Lebanon and Jordan as a result of the refugee crisis.
The said the overarching values of the EU were solidarity and internationalism.
He wanted to set a positive agenda for the Labour Party saying it was a time to be bold and on the front foot. He said, “We want to fight back against austerity, act on tax avoidance, campaign for workers’ rights, target money to areas adversely affected by immigration, restructure the Euro and deal