What an evening! Six great local speakers, passionate about the EU, and passionately explaining why.
How many people would turn out on a cold winter's evening for a meeting entitled ‘Chichester in Europe – The Way Forward’?
Nearly 200, it turns out! This was a new venture for the Portsmouth & Chichester Branch of the European Movement, but it won't be the last.
Thank you to everyone that came. You can see some brief highlights on YouTube, here.
Bob Long, event co-ordinator, compere'd the evening, and introduced our amazing speakers.
Local branch Chair, David Rowen, started with a quick introduction to the European Movement, nationally and locally, and its history since 1949, when Winston Churchill called for a 'United States of Europe' to prevent war in Europe forever.
Then Stephanie Holmes, a pupil at Chichester High School Sixth-Form, spoke eloquently and passionately about why the EU matters so much to young people.
Next up were Chichester's Remain Parliamentary candidates:
- Heather Barrie, Green Party, who explained how important our EU membership is to combat climate change;
- Jay Morton, Labour, spoke about why as an architect and a mother, she strongly supported our membership of the EU and how a Labour Government would hold a ‘final say’ referendum on our membership;
- Dr Kate O’Kelly, Liberal Democrat, spoke about her experience working as a GP locally and also as a dementia specialist, before explaining how crucial EU27 nationals working here were to the NHS and to social care in our area;
Dr Graham Lowe, Chief Scientific Officer for local medical devices business Deltex Medical Ltd, explained the major problems that leaving the EU was creating for his business and many others. Not just the uncertainty, but the increased costs and delays of leaving and duplicating the EU's regulatory and licencing systems.
Judith Bunting, one of our MEP's, and a Liberal Democrat, spoke about her experiences as a newly elected MEP, how she had been so welcomed by other moderate MEPs’ of left and right, and how saddened and puzzled they were by what was happening in the UK.
Finally David Rowen gave us some rousing reasons to keep fighting to Remain, and to vote tactically for a Remain party.
Then we had a wide range of questions from the audience, directed to individual speakers or the whole panel, with lively discussion.
On leaving, many new supporters signed up to the European Movement, Portsmouth & Chichester Branch (please join us for free here!).
And most encouraging, many lingered after the meeting to carry on discussing the important issues raised. MEP Judith Bunting said how delighted she was that so many people had turned up on a dark winter’s night to show how important the issue of our EU membership was to them.
Event organiser Bob Long said “This is the Brexit election - caused by Brexit, and called to resolve Brexit. Whatever happens will shape our country’s future for a generation. Our speakers provided a compelling case that Brexit will damage us, so we should vote tactically and vote to Remain!”