The EU Referendum can only be won with Labour voters. The consequences to our community of a Tory/UKIP led Brexit are real and serious. That’s why this fight is our fight.

Tonight in Dartford, two Tory MPs will spend the evening arguing with each other about Britain’s membership of the EU. The event will be unfortunately, typical of how of referendum debate has been framed with the public – an internal argument within the Conservative Party played out against a power struggle for the keys to 10 Downing Street. The escalating ‘blue on blue’ civil war is meat and drink for the media – who know that this sort of bun fight sells papers and attracts viewing figures.

 

Labour knows that the referendum and the devastating impact of a vote to leave are far, far more important than what’s going on in the Tory Party and short term political capital.

 

We also we know that we are in the fight of our lives from now until 23 June. I’m asking every member of Dartford Labour to help campaign to Remain from now until polling day.

 

Let’s be clear – this isn’t an academic exercise or a debate at the Oxford Union. There will be very real, tangible and damaging effects of a vote to leave – affects won’t be felt by Boris Johnson, Michael Gove or Nigel Farage. The impact of leaving will instead be felt by millions of working people across the UK – including here in Dartford.  These are the communities that we all got into politics to fairer and more prosperous places. These are the communities are will pick up the bill for Leave’s reckless gamble with our economy, our rights and our future – that’s why this fight is Labour’s fight.

 

We’ve heard this morning that Britain won’t be able to stay in the single market if we leave the EU. That will have a devastating impact on our businesses and the people who work in them. Vote Leave are still refusing to come clean about the employment rights they will cut. Their bus is still driving around the country with a £350m lie written on it. There is now a real risk that the NHS might fall into the hands of people who have previously said they want to privatise it.


Most worrying of all is that Boris and co are now adopting the nasty, divisive, rhetoric on race and immigration previously reserved only for UKIP and Donald Trump. There is no positive future for Britain of this type of backward politics – but we need to face up to the reality that there is very real prospect that Britain may vote for isolation – and everything that goes with it – if Remain doesn’t make the positive case in the next two weeks

 

It’s Labour – and Labour supporters who will determine the result of this referendum. I genuinely wish that the Conservatives weren’t hopelessly divided on Europe – but the fact is they are. We can’t rely on them.

As Andy Burnham rightly pointed out yesterday, Labour needs to do more to win the argument amongst those who are undecided on how to vote, or may be considering Brexit. We also need to do more to ensure those favouring remain get out and vote on 23 June  So far, not enough people have heard the positive Labour case to stay in. Let’s change that together. We all have a responsibility to get out there and campaign for a Remain vote.

If you can help the Remain campaign in Dartford over the next two weekends, then please leave a comment below or email me on Jonathon.hawkes@Dartford.gov.uk

Best,

Jonathon

Cllr Jonathon Hawkes

Leader – Dartford Labour Group

This Fight is Our Fight

The EU Referendum can only be won with Labour voters. The consequences to our community of a Tory/UKIP led Brexit are real and serious. That’s why this fight is our fight. Read more

Only a vote to Remain will protect women’s rights writes Daisy Page

 

The fact is that we risk jeopardising women’s rights if we vote to leave the European Union (EU) on 23 June 2016.

A recent TUC report concluded that British membership of the European Union has been instrumental in empowering working women and enabling them to challenge unequal pay and inequality at work.

New analysis by Labour IN shows that in the course of the working week a woman in an EU-OECD country earns, on average, almost £170 closer to her male counterpart than a woman living in a wealthy country outside the EU. 

 Our membership of the EU has brought greater workplace protection for British women:

  • ·     Legal right to equal pay. It is a founding principle of the EU and has been in the Treaties since 1957 (now art. 157 TFEU). In 1984 the UK government was forced to include equal pay for work of equal value in the Equal Pay Act, benefiting many women workers.
  • ·     Guaranteed rights for part time and flexible workers. There are 6.2 million women working part-time in the UK. It doesn’t matter if you are full-time or part-time, temporary or permanent, in-house or agency, all workers get the same rights, including access to pensions.
  • ·     Paid maternity leave and the right to return to work without loss of position or pay. Provides for a minimum maternity leave period for employees of 14 weeks and for a minimum payment during this leave. The maternity provisions in the UK (52 weeks) are more generous than the minimum requirements of this directive.
  • ·         Protection from gender-based discrimination and harassment. The Equal Treatment Directive guarantees equal treatment of women and men in the labour market (including selection criteria). It requires member states to prohibit any discrimination -direct or indirect - on grounds of gender. This includes reference to family or marital status, pregnancy and maternity, harassment, and instructions to discriminate. It also protects workers who make a complaint relating to equal treatment from victimisation.

 

So as you have read, women benefit directly from these achievements in many different ways every day.  However, these developments would be at risk if we vote to leave the European Union in June.  The current government could pick and choose which rights to water down or scrap altogether. Given their past record on women’s equality that is a frightening prospect.

Women rights are more secure in Europe; women are safer in Europe: we are more prosperous in Europe; and our future, and that of our children and grandchildren, is stronger in Europe.

 

Cllr Daisy Page is Deputy Leader of Dartford Labour Group

Why women are better off in Europe

Only a vote to Remain will protect women’s rights writes Daisy Page   Read more

 

Remaining in the EU will safeguard our rights at work from those who want to take them away from workers across Dartford and the country, writes Jonathon Hawkes

 

Would you trust Michael Gove, Boris Johnson and Iain Duncan Smith with your rights at work? No, me neither. However, that’s exactly the risk we will take if we vote to leave the EU.

Our membership of the EU means British people benefit from rights at work including the right to holiday pay, paid maternity and paternity leave, anti- discrimination laws, equal pay and protection for agency workers. If we leave, those rights won't be protected - they'll be in the hands of the government of the day. With the Tories engaged in civil war and Brexiters already measuring the curtains in Downing Street, the loss of these hard won rights is no idle threat. Gove, Boris and their mates are showing every sign that a future Tory government led by the Outers would waste no time in stripping away our rights at work. We can stop that terrifying prospect by voting to remain on 23 June.

Let’s look at how the EU protects us at work

  •    Protecting Part Time Workers - 34% of all working people in the Kent work part-time. If you work part time you are benefitting from EU rules ensuring that part-time workers cannot be discriminated against in comparison to their full-time co-workers.

 

  •    Protecting Work Life Balance - The European Working Time Directive means every working person in Europe receives a minimum of four weeks of paid annual leave. The Directive also helps you control how long you work for. Unless you choose to opt out, you cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours in a 7-day period, and you cannot be forced to work more than 13 consecutive hours in a day.

 

  •   Protecting Agency Workers - Many people in Dartford are agency workers. EU law protects temporary and agency workers, who are often in the most precarious jobs.

 

  •    Protecting Women at Work - The EU protects the rights of female workers to take paid maternity leave and the right to receive equal pay to men. EU law also stops pregnant women from being treated unfavourably by employers. 

 

There is no guarantee that these rights would be protected if the UK withdrew from the EU. In fact, they are one of the main reasons why many politicians on the Right want us to leave. We’ve all heard those Conservative and UKIP politicians talk about getting rid of EU ‘bureaucracy’ and ‘red tape’ – what they actually mean is getting rid our rights at work – rights that will be at serious risk should we vote to leave the EU.

Standing up for our rights is an important part of why the Labour Party is IN for Britain. Labour have always believed we achieve more together than we do alone and our membership of the EU ensures that we benefit from equally high standards at work, instead of suffering from equally low ones. When we work together in Europe, we ensure that the people who want get rid of our protections at work are never the loudest voices. We give that protection up at our peril. 

On 23 June lets vote to Remain in the European Union and stand up for our rights at work.

 

Jonathon Hawkes is Leader of the Labour Group of Councillors on Dartford Borough Council

 

Why voting to Remain in Europe will protect our rights at work

  Remaining in the EU will safeguard our rights at work from those who want to take them away from workers across Dartford and the country, writes Jonathon Hawkes   Read more

It’s good news that the new Lower Thames Crossing won’t be in Dartford – but we need urgent action right now to tackle our growing traffic gridlock.

The news that the government have finally recommended that Dartford should not be the location of the new Lower Thames Crossing is rare relief for everyone impacted by the pollution and congestion at the existing crossing. It’s also a victory for residents who kept up the campaign against a new crossing in Dartford over several years.

It’s taken far too long for the government to make this decision. Almost 2 ½ years after the start of the consultation on a new crossing and a year after local people were promised a decision would be made, it’s unacceptable that residents and businesses have had to put up with this uncertainty for so long.

Leader of Dartford Labour Cllr Jonathon Hawkes commented;

Building a new crossing away from Dartford is a step in the right direction. However, all the while the government have been dithering over this decision the problems at the existing crossing have got much worse and traffic gridlock is now a regular occurrence. With the new crossing not due to open for at least a decade, Dartford needs action right now to get our town moving again.

So while the news about the crossing is welcome, Dartford can’t afford complacency from the council or the MP. We desperately need a new traffic plan for Dartford to tackle to congestion and pollution we are living with right now. However, with a 37% cut in the Department of Transport budget and Kent County Council finances being slashed by £46m, there are real concerns that traffic chaos in Dartford is going to get worse under the Conservatives.”

 

Crossing News Welcome - But Dartford Needs Action On Gridlock Now

It’s good news that the new Lower Thames Crossing won’t be in Dartford – but we need urgent action right now to tackle our growing traffic gridlock. Read more

Yesterday, Labour asked if Dartford's MP Gareth Johnson was going to continue to oppose the idea of Transport for London taking over the failing Southeastern rail franchise. Today, he confirmed he will continue to "resist" TfL.

We think that Dartford's MP couldn't be more out of touch with rail users in the town. We just want a rail service that works - and its clear that Southeastern isn't working. Is Gareth Johnson interested in what works? Or just that the Dartford rail franchise stays in private sector hands?

Cllr Daisy Page - Dartford Labour's Deputy Leader and member of Dartford Council's transport committee commented;
 

"In continuing to oppose the possibility of TfL taking over the failing Southeastern franchise Gareth Johnson has shown himself to be completely out of touch with rail users in Dartford.

Mr Johnson should seeking solutions and a way forward to improve Dartford rail services, not putting up barriers by clinging to the same outdated, ideologically driven position Dartford Conservatives have always taken.

He raises concerns about accountability but Dartford rail passengers feel there is no accountability from Southeastern at the moment. There certainly wasn’t any accountability 18 months ago when the Conservatives rewarded Southeastern with an extension to their current franchise.

Gareth Johnson doesn’t seem to get that Dartford rail users are crying out for change on our railways. We need an MP that is going to stand up for Dartford, rather than only standing up for Southeastern”

Gareth Johnson is Out of Touch With Dartford Rail Users

Yesterday, Labour asked if Dartford's MP Gareth Johnson was going to continue to oppose the idea of Transport for London taking over the failing Southeastern rail franchise. Today, he confirmed he will continue to "resist" TfL. We think that Dartford's MP couldn't... Read more

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