If a show of hands at the Congress Theatre last night (26 May) speaks for the majority, it looks like Eastbourne will be voting to leave the EU next month.
Hundreds packed into the town’s premier theatre for a debate about whether Britain should remain a part of the European Union or exit.
The crowd was restless from the start after the discussion was delayed by half an hour and was then told that owing to problems on the train, the debate’s chair, Caroline Lucas MP, wasn’t there. Former leader of the Borough Council, Ian Lucas, stood in to allow the meeting to start.
The panel consisted of:
Dan Hannan MEP – OUT
Lord Marks, LibDem Spokesman for Justice – IN
CHECKATRADE founder Kevin Byrne – OUT
David Sears, Former Deputy Director of British Chambers of Commerce – IN
Broadcaster and Journalist Cole Moreton – NEUTRAL
Some 100 questions had been submitted from the public, although only a fraction of these could be covered in the 90 minute debate. Caroline Ansell arrived at 8.10pm, taking over the chair.
The ‘In’ campaign used the argument that international companies from the US and Japan would leave the UK in favour of European cities for their bases, should the country vote to leave on 23 June. Whilst those in the ‘Out’ camp declared that Britain shackled itself to a ‘corpse and not a locomotive’ when it joined the EU, calling it ‘obsolete’ and a ‘relic from the 1950s’.
The future of our children and grandchildren was also batted around – the ‘In’ campaign saying the EU will offer a better and more secure future for them and the ‘Out’ campaign saying they want the same freedoms that previous generations have fought for in two World Wars.
The ‘Out’ group also offered the argument that other than Antarctica no other continent in the world is stagnant, with the EuroZone the same size now as it was in 2006. The ‘In’ campaign warned of a loss of trade and that Donald Trump is threatening a 20% tariff on imports if we’re not a part of the EU, should become President of the USA.
The crowd remained vocal throughout the evening, with calls of ‘rubbish’ to many arguments raised by those wishing to remain a part of the EU. There were even calls of ‘shame’ when audience members showed their hands to wanting to vote ‘In’. Many were disappointed that there wasn’t an opportunity to put forward their own questions to the panel.
Caroline Ansell, who has until now remained tight-lipped on what side of the debate she stands on, is expected to declare her stance today (27 May).
For those who are undecided as to which way to vote, they have less than four weeks to look at both sides of the argument and make up their minds. But whichever way you are voting, the message from all sides is to make sure you cast a vote and have your say on 23 June.