Please, please, please 'Vote Remain' in the referendum this week.

The European Union may need many improvements but we have no say if we decide to leave.

Leaving the EU will risk jobs and trade and could cause a major economic crisis, with the value of the pound falling and major investment quickly moving away. 

Leaving the EU is bound to add to domestic and international instability and insecurity. 

And leaving the EU could threaten not just the unity of the UK but the unity of the rest of Europe, which has been peaceful and collaborative for 70 years.

At home it could lead to an even more right-wing Conservative government led by someone like Boris Johnson which would be even less willing to support the NHS and other public services and even less willing to support the poor and the less well off.

But worse even than all these things, leaving the EU means that we would for the first time since 1945 turn away from international leadership towards international isolation. At the moment we have the benefit of leadership in the UN, and the Commonwealth, and NATO and the EU. Leave and we will lose much of our influence in international development and diplomacy in all of these places.

We have never given away control of our country to unelected people in Brussels; what we have done is decide that our elected representatives will share decisions with other democratically elected government ministers, who very rarely take decisions we do not agree with. 

The last thing I want is a new form of nationalistic Independence Day to mark the beginning of the UK moving away from collaboration with our nearest neighbours, reducing the European nature of Britain and which will give big problems to all of us and especially to Northern Ireland and Gibraltar. 

Vote Remain on Thursday 23rd June!

Please, please, please vote remain. Let us lead in the world and in our continent and not retreat from them. 

Each and every vote could make the difference. Please vote for a sane and civilised future this week, and don't be misled by some of the most dishonest claims in the recent history of British politics. 

Simon Hughes