REPRESENTING SOUTH EAST ENGLAND IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT

John Howarth is MEP for South East England, re-elected in 2019.

The constituency includes Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, East Sussex, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent, Oxfordshire, Surrey and West Sussex - that's a population of more than 8.5 million.

John is a member of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats, the second largest group in the Parliament. He is a member of the Budgets Committee, the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee and the Committee for Budgetary Control. Responsible for his group on several files on the 2021-27 MFF, John is the Parliament's Rapporteur for the 2019 EU Budget.

CHAMPIONING RESEARCH, INNOVATION AND CREATIVITY IN THE EU BUDGET

Before becoming an MEP John was a business leader and entrepreneur in technology, creative and communication businesses.

John says, "The European Union's budget investment in science and research is essential to maintaining and enhancing a competitive, flexible and socially sustainable economy. The challenges of the digital market place, the growing importance of creative content and the need to ensure technological change is socially sustainable will be key preoccupations of the next two legislative terms."

Brexit: now a fact, but still a grave mistake

John says:

"The General Election in December 2020 ended the war of leave and remain. The UK will leave the European Union, Brexit is now a fact. But Brexit becoming fact doesn't change the facts - there is still no good Brexit.

"Britain will be damaged economically and it's standing in the world will be diminished further. UK citizens will see the rights they have gained as EU citizens removed by the state, the opportunities for our young people will be restricted, those putting their faith in 'new trade deals' will be disappointed to learn the hard way that there is no magic bullet and the damage to our health services that has already been inflicted will continue.

"Those who campaigned to leave are conspicuously silent on the substance of the future. What's worse, they still can't explain what the "opportunities of Brexit" are - other than the chance to dodge tax for their hedge funds. What exactly did they win?

"What is now needed is a credible European policy for the UK from the government and an opposition capable of holing the government to account. A further fact remains: the fundamental choice over Brexit: stay close to the EU structures, minimise the economic damage but lose our say over the rules and structures; or pull away from those structures and inflict immense economic damage on our economy and the welfare of our people. We will know soon enough."

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