History in the making as crucial EU vote hangs in the balance
Local representatives from both the Leave and Remain groups will be canvassing Tonbridge residents right up until the last minute before the European Union Referendum vote takes place tomorrow (Thursday).
With people being asked to make one of the biggest decisions in a generation over the UK’s EU membership, commentators say the outcome is too close to call.
Among the core topics have been the perceived value of the EU and its social and economic policies, as well as issues such as immigration, which has proved a central platform for those seeking ‘Brexit’.
The Remain camp has argued staying in the European Union would offer stability through access to the single market and this will protect jobs.
Howard Porter, Chairman of West Kent Green Party, has lobbied to remain within Europe. He signed a joint open letter urging residents to vote Remain alongside the area’s other party leaders including Douglas Ramsay of Labour, and Lib Dem Frani Hoskins.
Tonbridge & Malling MP Tom Tugendhat was also a signatory and spoke in Parliament last Wednesday about ‘severe implications’ for the economy if we leave.
“Whatever the outcome of the Referendum, we must come back together as a nation and act according to the will of the people and in the best interests of the country.”
Mr Porter said: “We have been part of the EU for 40 years and are part of a single market of 500 million people, so to leave that would be folly.
“All the independent economic organisations from around the world including the IMF have recommended we stay in Europe and we should listen to them. There’s a uniform view that the UK would be worse off in the short and the long term if we leave the EU.”
Jacques Arnold, the former Tonbridge, Edenbridge and Malling Conservative Association Chairman, is campaigning for the area’s Leave group. He dismissed as ‘nonsense’ Chancellor George Osborne’s warning that the UK faced a £30billion financial black hole if we leave.
Mr Arnold said: “The EU is a declining economic area that is strangling itself with regulation. Britain’s history of being great was achieved through our setting out to trade with the world and invest globally.
“It’s time to set ourselves free and make our own trade agreements,” added the former Gravesham MP, who said levels of immigration into the region were putting an unprecedented strain on public services.