Hundreds of concerned constituents took part in the Let Us Be Heard march on Saturday 19 October, under the banners of Harpenden for Europe and North Herts for Europe. The cameraderie with other groups around us was great. We shared our time with groups from Sheffield, Liverpool, Cumbria, Haworth, Warwick. Old and young, of every colour, we felt stronger together. And according to the MPs who share our cause, we could definitely be heard in the Commons chamber!
And it was great to be joined by one of the candidates for our constituency in the next General Election who supports a People's Vote as the way out of this log jam - Sam Collins of the Liberal Democrats.
Here's a great summary from our colleagues at North Herts for Europe.
On Thursday 26 September, Harpenden for Europe held a public event titled “So what does a No Deal mean for us?“. Around 250 local residents, including a large group of sixth form students, attended the event in Harpenden Public Halls.
Six expert speakers from our local area provided advice for the audience on how a no Deal Brexit would impact their daily lives. It was striking just how widespread the impact would be, from discussions covering constitutional law, farming, NHS, pharmaceuticals and the rights of EU nationals.
Even to hardened followers of Brexit, there was plenty of shocking new information to absorb. For example, the UK market could become a magnet for counterfeit drugs as EU drug safety standards would no longer apply. Another example was that wheat imports Into the UK would have zero tariff, meaning local and UK farmers would have to compete with the lowest cost providers around the globe, many of whom have much lower environmental and labour regulations than the UK.
One resident spoke for many when he asked “why haven’t I heard this before?”. Many of the audience also completed a Brexit poll. The overwhelming majority felt that a No Deal Brexit would be bad for Harpenden.
Don’t worry if you could not make the event. We will shortly be publishing video on this website.
An enormous thank you to our panellists for joining us on the evening of Tuesday 2nd July for a fascinating discussion on Brexit and what lies ahead for Britain and our place in Europe. It was a great pleasure to welcome:
- Stephen Dorrell, Chair of the European Movement UK & former Conservative Cabinet Minister
- Femi Oluwole, co-founder of the youth movement Our Future Our Choice
- Alex Mayer, former Labour MEP for the East of England
- Cllr Sam Collins, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Hitchin & Harpenden
- Elizabeth Campion, Cambridge academic, expert in constitutional law & Green Party member
We had a superb turnout with nearly 300 audience members filling the Public Halls, despite an unfortunate clash with the Lionesses' World Cup Semi Finals match. It was an inspiring and motivational night, with incisive questions from the audience, insightful answers and plenty of hope to go around. Do watch the video, share it widely, and write to us if you'd like to know more or to get involved in future Harpenden for Europe events.
Thanks to everybody who came and as ever to our wonderful team of volunteers, who made this event possible.
Some background to the first two candidates of each of the main parties...
Richard Tice, Property developer. Party chairman. Founder, Leave means Leave. Says we can thrive and prosper under WTO rules.
Michael Heaver, Journalist and founder of Westmonster, a pro-Brexit website. Terms his ethnicity “milk bottle white” and claims there are “tons of burkas” on the streets of East London.
Geoffrey van Orden. Sitting MEP. Doesn’t say much in print about Brexit. Leads the EP group on relations with India.
John Flack. Sitting MEP. Suggests many formerly Remain voters have switched to Leave because of the political events since the referendum.
Emma Taylor. Engineer/scientist. Experience in large infrastructure projects. Expresses concern about losing access to €120bn of EU investment in research and development.
Neil Carmichael. Former CO MP for Stroud. Involvement in education reform, climate protection, engineering and robotics. Says the positive impact of EU enlargement is to be celebrated.
Robin Tilbrook. Party Chairman. Solicitor. Has initiated judicial action to try to assert that we actually left the EU on 29/3 and that the prime minister had no authority to seek an extension.
Charles Vickers. Party Treasurer. Retired finance director and management consultant. Praises the Gillet Jaune (sic) and claims that a bunch of unelected admins tell MEPs what to do.
Catherine Rowett. University lecturer in philosophy. Former Green Party parliamentary candidate for South Norfolk. Quiet on Europe.
Rupert Read. University lecturer in philosophy. Campaigner on climate change (participant in ExtinctionRebellion). Quiet on Europe.
Alex Mayer. Sitting MEP. Supports a second referendum. Says Brexit is a once in a generation catastrophe and that she will never back a deal that further deregulates the economy and undermines the rights of working people.
Chris Vince. Harlow district councillor and 2017 candidate for Chelmsford. Teacher. Quiet on Brexit.
Barbara Gibson. Herts county councillor. Global business consultant. Lecturer in international business communication. Says there is no form of Brexit that is as good for the UK as the deal we already have with the EU.
Lucy Nethsingha. Cambs county councillor. Teacher. When she stood in 2017 for SE Cambs, said she would fight for Britain’s future in the European Union and against Brexit which would damage to the Cambridgeshire economy.
Stuart Agnew. Sitting MEP. Farmer. Salutes the bravery of Tommy Robinson and says farmers need not be afraid of a No Deal Brexit.
Paul Oakley. General secretary and party spokesperson on immigration. Says remainers are forgetful and that many of them are a bit stupid. Says that Europe made us increase interest rates to 15% in 1993 in connection with the ERM (they actually fell from 15% in 1990 to 6% in 1993 during the UK’s participation in the ERM).
It was fantastic to see so many people crammed into the public halls for this event, held on Tuesday 14th May. Democratic engagement is alive and well in Harpenden! We noted down a summary of what each candidate had to say for anyone who couldn't make it on the night. You can download it below.
Harpenden for Europe brings you the Brexit news, condensed.
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