British Indian councillors want to stay in EU

  • Prasun Sonwalkar, Hindustan Times, London
  • Updated: Jun 22, 2016 20:02 IST
Several Indian-origin British MPs and members of the House of Lords have declared themselves firmly in the Remain camp. (HT Photo)

As many as 71 councillors of Indian origin across Britain and across the political spectrum have pledged their support for the “British Indians for IN” campaign to make the case for remaining a member of the European Union. 

Ahead of Thursday’s referendum, the councillors said remaining in the EU significantly benefits Britain not just economically, but in terms of security, trade and presence globally.

Areas represented by the pro-EU councillors include wards in England, Wales and Scotland, and they represent the Conservative, Labour, and Liberal Democrat parties.

Councillor Geetha Morla, from Milton Keynes, said: “For me, there is no question about whether or not Britain should remain a member of the EU. The European single market is by far our biggest trading partner, providing jobs and ensuring lower prices in our shops.”

Balwant Chadha, councillor for Cumbernauld North in North Lanarkshire and the country's first Sikh Justice of the Peace, told the campaign: “I strongly believe that Britain is in a much stronger position remaining in E.U and safer not only economically and culturally, but is able to lead people in European countries to improve their quality of life.” 

Sandwell councillor Preet Gill said: “Britain has a history of engaging with the world and standing up on matters of international laws against countries. With its rich diversity it cannot and should not be a country that becomes insular but continues to be outward facing and addressing matters like immigration, terrorism and the economy with the EU as together, we are stronger and better.” 

The “British Indians for IN” campaign group coordinated by Conservative MP Alok Sharma has more than 15 members of the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

According to senior Labour MP Virendra Sharma, being a member of the EU means Britain is better off and safer in an increasingly uncertain world.

“While the UK is in the EU it stands between the Commonwealth and Europe, we are a stronger trading partner for India while we have access to the single market. Voting to remain means staying part of the single market of 500 million people – Britain’s biggest trading partner – with a say over the rules of doing business across Europe,” he said.

Group coordinator Alok Sharma said: “There are around 1.2 million British Indians voters across the UK and our votes could be absolutely crucial in determining the outcome of the EU referendum on June 23.  It is clear that very many people and business leaders within the British Indian community agree that voting to remain in the UK is the right choice for our country and our community.”

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