A group of British-Indians have launched a cross-party campaign to keep Britain in the European Union, highlighting the impact the British-Indian community could have on the outcome of the referendum. The "British-Indians for IN" campaign has received support from British-Indian parliamentarians across all the major political parties, including the Conservatives, Labour and Liberal Democrats.
The "British-Indians for IN" campaign notes that there are 1.2 million British-Indians who are eligible to vote in the EU referendum on 23 June, and believe that the community could be a decisive factor in determining the outcome of the referendum. MP Alok Sharma, the Prime Minister's Infrastructure Envoy to India, has been helping to coordinate the campaign and echoed views that British-Indians are better off if Britain stays in the EU.
MP Sharma said: "With more than a million eligible voters in the upcoming referendum, British-Indians could prove to have a decisive say in our future relationship with Europe. British-Indians are outward-looking internationalists, which is why so many of us believe that Britain's place belongs in the EU, where we are leading the agenda for reform."
MP Sharma noted that if Britain stays in the EU, it continues to guarantee the country a seat at the table at EU negotiations, where he believes some of the "biggest trade deals in history" are made, such as the current discussions with the United States, China and India. He also said that membership of the EU means access to Europe's free trade market of 500 million consumers, which lowers prices and creates more jobs, as well as brings "increased investment and financial security".
The '"British-Indians for IN" campaign was launched on 26 April and has been supported by a number of Crossbench Members from the House of Lords. MP Virendra Sharma and Rt. Hon Keith Vaz, as well as Baroness Sandip Verma were among a number of parliamentarians to sign an open letter expressing their support for the IN campaign.
The open letter reads: "We are British Parliamentarians of Indian-origin and whilst we represent different political views, on a whole range of matters, we believe that membership of the EU is an issue which transcends party politics. We are united in our belief that the UK is stronger, safer and better off as a member of the EU."
The letter went on to state that they disagree with the argument that Britain needs to leave the EU to strengthen ties with Commonwealth countries, instead noting that it is Britain's membership of the EU that helps "enhance and strengthen" the UK's ties with countries such as India.
The signatories to the letter include:
- Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE DL, Chairman of Cobra Beer Partnership Ltd
- Rt. Hon. Lord Navnit Dholakia OBE DL, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords
- Lord Rajinder Loomba CBE, Founder of the Loomba Foundation
- Seema Malhotra MP, Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury
- Lord Dolar Popat, Prime Minister's Trade Envoy to Uganda and Rwanda
- Lord Diljit Rana MBE, Managing Director of Andras House Ltd
- Alok Sharma MP, Prime Minister's Infrastructure Envoy to India
- Virendra Sharma MP, Chair of the Indo-British All Party Parliamentary Group
- Lord Ranbir Suri
- Lord Bhikhu Parekh, Emeritus Professor of Political Philosophy, University of Westminster and Emeritus Professor, University of Hull
- Shailesh Vara MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Ministry of Justice
- Rt. Hon. Keith Vaz MP, Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee
- Valerie Vaz MP, Vice-Chair of the Parliamentary Labour Party
- Baroness Sandip Verma, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Department for International Development
- Lord Rumi Verjee CBE, Founder of Rumi Foundation