Today’s columnist: Paul Blomfield MP: Vote for our children on June 23

Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield
Sheffield Central MP Paul Blomfield
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I was debating our membership of the European Union recently with a really bright bunch of students at Barnsley Sixth Form College.

They felt it was wrong that many of them wouldn’t have a say in a decision that was going to affect them for all their lives, simply because they were a few months away from their 18th birthday.

But one young woman told me how she had tackled the issue.

She had persuaded her strongly anti-EU grandad to cast his vote for her – and to use it to remain inside the EU.

I’ve since shared the story with other young people and realise that she’s not on her own.

Many are trying to persuade their parents and grandparents to cast their vote for them.

All the young people that I’ve met are overwhelmingly in favour of staying in the EU.

They know our future lies in working with our neighbours.

They know that trading with other countries in the world’s biggest market creates the jobs they want.

They know that the EU has secured important protection for people at work, as consumers, and for the environment.

They can’t imagine turning our backs on our neighbours and having to apply for visas to travel around the rest of Europe.

They’re confident about Britain’s place in the world and know our voice is stronger as part of the biggest partnership of free democratic nations.

And they know we’ll be more effective by working together on the big challenges we all face – from immigration to climate change.

All the opinion polls confirm what they tell me.

The younger that you are, and the longer that you’ll live with the result, the more likely you are to want to stay in Europe.

So let’s think of our children and our grandchildren when we go to the polls on June 23.

We should share their confidence and not close down their opportunities.

We’re a great country and a leading voice in Europe.

We’re stronger together in the world than we would be alone.

Let’s share the hopes of our young people, and give them the future they deserve as part of Europe.