Tuesday 20 May 2014 6:37 pm

Why the City should vote Lib Dem in the EU elections

Tom Welsh is City A.M.'s business features editor.

Tom Welsh is City A.M.'s business features editor.

LEAVING the EU is the surest way to pull the rug out from under the City’s feet. The Square Mile is Europe’s financial centre, with twice as many euro foreign exchange deals done in London than in any other country in the Eurozone. Holding our position at the heart of Europe is essential if we want our financial services to continue to compete with the best in the world.

If we leave the Single Market, we lose our competitive edge. That’s why tomorrow’s European elections are so important.

Ukip is throwing everything it has at this campaign, but a vote for Nigel Farage’s party is a vote against businesses in London. You may not have supported the Liberal Democrats before, but back us tomorrow to help us protect our City. Ours is the only party that has had the guts to take on Ukip. Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have completely ducked the issue of Europe.

Labour and the Tories are too scared to speak out against Farage because they believe it will cost them support. It has fallen squarely to the Liberal Democrats to take on the anti-EU brigade, because Ukip is everything we are not. The Liberal Democrats do not fear the future, but embrace it. We celebrate diversity. We are internationalists because we understand that the biggest challenges Britain faces demand that we work with others – whether it’s preventing terrorism, tackling climate change, promoting free trade or clamping down on organised crime.

We believe that turning away from our neighbours would massively undermine Britain’s interests, with London paying a particularly high price. A European exit would hurt the vast numbers of businesses which sell their goods and services across the EU — our biggest export market — and threaten British livelihoods and jobs. We understand that being in Europe gives us more strength to negotiate trade deals with global players like the US, China, India and Brazil. And we will work hard to make sure companies find it easier to export to, as well as help slash red tape for small businesses.

Sadly, Farage’s party doesn’t get this. Behind the crowd-pleasing, pint-swilling banter is a party that wants to turn the clock back. Ukip’s only answer to the complexities of the modern world is to pull up the drawbridge, shun the outside world and hanker for a past that never existed. But nothing could be more at odds with the values and attitude that make our capital great, as well as the values of our party. So if you believe in safeguarding British jobs, securing the economic recovery and protecting our ability to trade, then vote Liberal Democrat tomorrow.

Baroness Kramer is minister of state for transport, a Liberal Democrat peer, and a former vice president at Citibank.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.