An update in some of the work Vicky Ford is doing as an MEP. Vicky, with David Campbell Bannerman and Geoffrey van Orden, represents Eastern England. This text is taken unedited from an e-mail 'newsletter' Vicky issued on 7th June 2016.
Motor vehicle type approval. In the wake of VW scandal there are new proposals to strengthen the independence and quality of testing centres for new cars, increase spot checks and enhance powers to remove substandard vehicles from the market. I am chairing the negotiations being led by UK MEP, Dan Dalton. I recently visited Ford's testing centre in Essex to understand the improvements that have been made to reduce toxic emissions.
Digital Rights. We are working on two different proposals to clarify consumer rights when buying on line. The U.K. Government is the first in Europe to legislate on digital consumer rights and has encouraged with the EU to introduce a common approach across the single market to underpin the digital economy and e-commerce. Over the next few months I am due to chair the detailed negotiations between Parliament, Commission and Council of Ministers.
Firearms legislation. After the Paris attacks, and the discovery of a cache of similar firearms in the UK, the Commission has proposed a tightening up of European gun laws. Unfortunately the initial draft is rushed and poorly worded, causing increased uncertainty. I am currently leading the scrutiny and negotiations as over 800 various amendments have been tabled. I am working with colleagues and experts in the UK and across Europe to address the issues. We are due to vote in mid July.
It is not clear what the position may be post Referendum but I believe it will be impossible for UK MEPs to continue to lead and influence negotiations if there is a Leave vote.
In recent weeks I've been visiting businesses small and large, farms, hospitals and research organisations in the East of England which are concerned about the impact if we leave the Single Market.
Here are some of their stories...
In Bedfordshire 700 people at B/E Aeronautics make parts for aircraft all around the world. The UK management team are very concerned about the impact on their trade of economic uncertainty and exchange rate volatility. I met them with Andrew Selous MP.
Almath Crucibles is a small family owned business in Cambridgeshire making scientific products for Rolls Royce, Red Bull Formula One as well as NASA. It exports almost half of its products into the Europe's Single Market every year. In the East of England over half our exports go to EU countries.
One in 10 of the doctors and nurses in our NHS are trained elsewhere in the EU. I chair the committee responsible for ensuring that professional standards are maintained across the Single Market and setting new ones like those we have brought in on language testing. I visited Ipswich Hospital with local MP and health minister Ben Gummer (centre).
In Watford Richard Harrington MP and I met Sigma Pharmaceuticals who supply over 2,000 chemists with medicines every day, many of which are imported from within the EU. They are concerned that leaving the EU could impact supply of prescription drugs.
Rothamsted Research in Harpenden is the world's oldest agricultural research centre. Over 200 scientists work here in crop science and biotechnology, they lead many international research projects. It is vital that our scientists in Britain can work easily with others all across the world. Recent surveys show over 90% of scientists wish to Remain in the EU.
Suffolk's leading organic farm, Shimpling, told the local MP Jo Churchill and me about the importance of having common standards for organic produce across Europe.
With Robert Halfon MP in Harlow, I visited Robert Stuart PLC, employing about 90 people making the nuts and bolts that hold together Airbus wings. They pointed out that its not only large employers that are concerned about the economic disruption but those in the supply chain too.
British Food and Drink exports to Europe are worth over £11bn every year. Therese Coffey MP and I met local members of the National Farmers Union at the Suffolk show. The organisation has concluded that farmers are best served by our continuing membership of the European Union.
In Kings Lynn I visited Dow Chemicals, like many others they sell a huge amount into other EU countries. They are affected by EU laws on consumer and environmental safety. It is important that we have a voice and a vote on how those laws are made.
As ever I would be delighted to hear your feedback and views.
Vicky Ford MEP
149-151 St Neots Road
01954 211 722