Parliament is now gripped by EU referendum fever and it’s likely to continue up to June 23.
The previous referendum was the last time I was too young to vote. I have never felt aggrieved at not voting, but had I done so I would have voted to come out.
Now my view has changed and I will be voting to remain.
I’ve never been a Europhile, it’s hard to be one with the Common Fisheries Policy. On balance, however, I believe our country is better off in than facing the uncertainty of being out.
It’s not about straight bananas, it’s about the founding principles which set up the Common Market, then the European Union, first and foremost to avoid repeating two world wars when Europe tore itself apart.
I’ve visited Nissan and seen jobs created by being able to access the single market. I’ve discussed with Hitachi Europe its reason for locating here, within the EU. Europe is important to the Port of Tyne where a number of my constituents work.
As a former Home Office minister I worked with EU colleagues to tackle people trafficking and serious and organised crime. I’ve seen the importance of co-ordinating Europe’s approach to terrorism.
As for pooling sovereignty to achieve more for Britain, we do it all the time.
So despite the talk of Europe and little else, the debate and the vote will be worth it in the end.