Lively Debate At Final Chiswick EU Referendum Meeting

MP Ruth Cadbury and Cllr Robert Oulds discuss the issue at St Paul's Church


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The final of the three debates on the forthcoming referendum was held at St Paul's Church, Grove Park on Thursday, with a majority of the audience opting to Remain in the EU.

The debate, chaired by Torin Douglas gave a vote on a show of hands of Remain-44; leave-16 and undecided-19.

Local MP Ruth Cadbury, who spoke first, kept the focus initially on the benefits to the UK economy from membership of the common market, ranging from less bureaucracy for trade and exports, to EU laws on workers and consumers rights. Those who argued to Leave had no credible economic plan, she said.

On arguments about the loss of sovereignty she said that being "at the table" meant that Britain could influence decisions on matters such as global poverty. Losing the European arrest warrant would not make us feel safe. For the sake of the next generation we should "look forward, not back".

Councillor Robert Oulds of the anti-Europe Bruges Group, said that he disagreed with the often-used metaphor as EU membership being like "a marriage" -it was in fact a system of governance, it sat above national government and eliminated diversity on the Continent. It was a failing project and took away democracy. Leaving would protect our civil liberties and freedom.

The EU did not believe in the NHS, or protect workers rights as standards differed between countries. The EU was not the top body for global trading- there had been a growth in global institutions and bodies dealing with trade. The Brexit campaign had a vision of power resting with the people of Britain making its own laws.

Questions from the audience included one from a resident who wanted to know about international security given the current threats from groups such as ISIS. Robert Oulds said that there was already an exchange of intelligence through Interpol and leaving would give the UK more control over its borders. However, Ruth Cadbury disagreed and said that the best way to counter the threat was to share information through the EU.

Another question on the 'cost' to Britain of EU membership received a different response from the two participants. Robert Oulds said it cost 7 billion euro to run the bureaucratic side of the EU- the net UK figure paid in was 8 billion pounds per year, but Ruth Cadbury said that when EU grants were taken into account the net worth to us from the EU was 5.8 billion pounds. The benefit from growth and jobs was ten times what we paid in.

A young audience member commented: "70% of under/25s want to stay. Don't gamble with our futures."


June 10, 2016

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