November and December have flown by with lots happening in the European Parliament and the East Midlands. Here's a quick summary of what I've been working on and what's ahead.
IN THE UK
National Launch of the “Labour IN for Britain” Campaign
The National Launch of Labour’s campaign to remain in the EU took place in December. This was a fantastic event led by Alan Johnson MP a great spokesperson for the campaign. Watch out for news on our East Midlands Regional launch which will take place in the New Year.
I’m working closely with Alan and the Labour Party and will be holding a number of meetings and campaign events over the coming months; I hope to see you all there. If you’d like to get involved with Labour’s campaign to remain in the EU, please contact Gail McDade firstname.lastname@example.org
With well over 100 Labour Party Members in attendance, this year's European Forum was the biggest ever. We were delighted to host Alan Johnson MP at Nottingham Trent University, who took advantage of Nottingham's EU funded tram network to get to the venue! Party members took part in Q&A sessions with a host of politicians and trade unionists including Lilian Greenwood MP, Cllr Rory Palmer, Cllr Tom Beattie, Cllr Heather Worman and Richard Oliver from the GMB.
Health and Safety Strategy
Labour members will be aware that it’s thanks to the EU that employees in the UK are protected to such a high standard. And thank goodness, since the Tories voted against the EU Parliament's recent strategy to improve these measures. I dread to think what would happen if the Tories were solely responsible for health and safety here in the UK!
Thankfully, the strategy passed in the European Parliament and I was pleased that my proposals, including those on training, tackling diseases and cancers caused by asbestos and protection for whistle-blowers, were all supported.
What have the Tories supported?
Not a lot.
- opposed recommendations aimed at tackling tax avoidance/evasion
- voted against the EU taking action to tackle child poverty
- voted against stronger laws to eliminate violence against women
Labour MEPs have been calling for urgent EU measures help workers affected by the steel crisis. This includes taking strong action against China for steel dumping – selling steel at uneconomic prices. However, the UK Government continues to block this EU action.
- I have raised my concerns with UK Business Secretary, Sajid Javid, who needs to take immediate action.
- We are also urging the UK Government to apply for a £5 million EU fund that could be used to help communities affected by the closures of the steelworks.
- This week I'll welcome UK steelworkers to Strasbourg to campaign alongside them and trade unions to call for urgent help from the EU.
I’ve long been calling for Raif Badawi's release, a campaigner who promotes religious freedom in Saudi Arabia. Raif has been sentenced to 1000 lashes and 10 years in prison. He has already suffered torture at the hands of Saudi authorities, despite calls from across Europe and the world for his release.
I nominated Raif for this year's Sakharov prize; the annual prize from the European Parliament for the defence of freedom of thought and human rights. I’m delighted he has won this prize, as this will continue to put international pressure on the Saudi authorities. I hope that he is released soon and will be able to come to the European Parliament to receive his award in person in the near future.
I recently welcomed some Derby Rolls-Royce representatives back to the European Parliament. I have been working with trade unions and Rolls-Royce to stress the importance of the company for local jobs, jobs which we need to keep in the East Midlands.
We discussed EU funding and the future of the aerospace sector with experts in the EU. The aerospace sector continues to grow; and with 1 in 11 jobs in Derby dependent on Rolls-Royce I will continue to work to keep these highly-skilled jobs in the region.
Anti-fur farming event
I was delighted to see Mark Glover, a local Labour councillor, in Strasbourg last month. Mark was taking part in a panel, organised by the Animal Welfare Intergroup, calling for the end of fur farming. Animal welfare is a key issue and we must ensure that it is respected across Europe.
I'd like to thank Paddy Casswell in the Attenborough office, who is retiring at Christmas, for all of his hard work and dedication over the years.
My thanks also to all my staff: Kelly and Gail in the UK, and Emily, Elspeth and Bridie in my Brussels office.
. . AND FINALLY . .
Those in the know about social media have told me that I should have a page on Facebook so I have one! It would be fantastic if you could give the page a “like”. The address is www.facebook.com/gleniswillmottmep
If there’s anything in this report you’d like further information about, please contact my office at email@example.com or on 0115 922 9717.
My best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to you and your family.