EU referendum: Don’t forget to register to vote! And other musings on the upcoming referendum

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On 23 June 2016, Britain will face one of the greatest electoral questions of this decade.

Voters will be asked to decide whether or not they wish to see the UK remain in the

European Union.  Yet as this crucial election draws ever-nearer, there is an important issue

which must be contemplated: registering to vote.

 

The deadline to register to vote for the referendum is midnight, 7 June. The party-neutral

Bite The Ballot (of which Lord Roberts is Honorary President) is running an innovative

#TurnUp campaign in the week approaching this deadline. I urge everyone to support this

cause. It’s vital to ensure that the 30% of young people missing from the roll are able to have

their say.

 

Regardless of how you choose to vote, it is crucial that all eligible voters turn up to vote and

have their say on the future of Britain’s membership of the EU. That said, Lib Dems have

adamantly chosen to become the party of remaining ‘IN’ the Union. Our party chooses this

path because it’s not only the right thing to do, but it’s the smart thing to do.

 

There are economic benefits to remaining in the Union which will benefit a substantial

portion of the British public. The GNP per capita will remain higher, the UK will retain its

access and influence to the single market, and unemployment will remain lower. British

citizens will retain their right to live and work in other EU member states – a fact that affects

over 2 million Britons today. Finally, remaining in the single market allows Britain the

continued access to trade agreements with other nation states. This means there will be no

need for renegotiation of bilateral trade agreements between the US and UK, or between

Canada and the UK.

 

If these sorts of economic benefits are not enough to encourage an ‘in’ vote, there is another

side to the argument for remaining in. The social benefits of remaining in the Union are

many, but in my mind there are two at the forefront: 1) cultural exchange, and 2) sustainable

peace. The EU has maintained sustainable peace within its borders for 70 years thanks to

the alignment of goals and working together to achieve them. Yet this is also because of the

first point; a cultural exchange of ideas, customs, languages and values. By engaging with

the Continent, the UK has become culturally enriched and open. Though this is my personal

opinion, this seems to me a beautiful reason to remain in the EU.  Why not continue to

partake in benefits such as Erasmus+? Why cut ourselves, and future generations off, from

the world?

 

For more information about why Lib Dems support remaining in the European Union, please

check out the #INTogether campaign. But most importantly of all – as a Party – we must

remember to inspire every we meet and work with to get registered, get informed, and

#TurnUp to vote!