TV political editor to chair debate on Europe dilemma

TV political editor to chair debate on Europe dilemma

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Andy Bell
photo: ITN

Should we stay or should we go? That is the question millions of people in Britain will be faced with on June 23 when asked to give their verdict on the UK’s membership of the European Union.

Approximately 190,000 people who are eligible to vote across the boroughs of Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells will have their chance to define the future of this country for years to come by choosing IN or OUT.

However, many people are still confused and undecided about how they should vote. This is why the Times has agreed to be the media sponsor of the Great EU Debate, which is being hosted at the Assembly Hall on May 25 by The Discussion Forum.

The idea is the brainchild of forum founders Caroline Clark and Diana Armstrong-Wilson, both of whom are having trouble making up their minds on which way to vote.

Mrs Armstrong-Wilson said: “Caroline and I are both fairly politically knowledgeable, but we are struggling to come up with a clear-cut decision.

“One evening we said ‘all we want is to have one event where all the policies from both sides are put to us clearly at one time and we can then make a decision on facts, not rumour, scaremongering or political gainsay’.

“We quickly realised that such an event did not exist and so the Great EU Debate was born.” They have since worked tirelessly to put together a programme aimed at giving people all the information they need to make an informed decision.

The debate will be chaired by ITN’s Andy Bell, who cut his journalistic teeth on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, where he was the foreign affairs’ editor, before heading across to the political desk at ITN.

This debate is aimed at appealing to everyone in our community and beyond. New voters can take advantage of The Discussion Forum’s offer of 100 free places to 6th formers from local schools so that they may take part in this landmark dialogue.

Although the debate panel is still being finalised, it’s confirmed that Ben Patterson, former President of the West Kent European Movement, and Professor Philip Davis, Visiting Fellow of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research, will be arguing for the IN vote.

Arguing for OUT will be Brendan Chilton, General Secretary of Labour Leave, and Diane James, an MEP representing South East England.

The Confederation of British Industry’s Director of Campaigns Andy Bagnall will also be taking part.

Local business leaders are being invited to come along and put their questions to the panel of experts.

The opening discussion will be followed by audience questions aimed at either the panel or local business representatives, giving all those attending the chance to challenge the experts.

Ticket prices for the event being run by The Discussion Forum start from £12.50.

This is your chance to get answers to those all important questions that might help you decide which way to vote on June 23.

Balanced

One of the major sponsors of the Great EU debate is the Tunbridge Wells branch of Citizens Advice Bureaux.

The independent charity, which was founded of in 1939, operates 216 self-funding branches across the UK, with the aim of providing free, confidential information and advice to assist people with their money, legal, consumer and other problems.

Explaining why the charity decided to sponsor the Great EU Debate, Jeremy Cross, Chief Executive Tunbridge Wells and District CAB, said: “Citizens Advice exists to help local residents deal with the challenges that face them every day.

“The EU Referendum is a big decision for everyone,” he added. “We welcome this opportunity to inform people by sponsoring a balanced, well-informed and lively debate that I hope will help them make the decision that is right for them.”

DEBATE DETAILS:

Debate starts at 7.30 pm at the Assembly Hall on May 25.

Pricing: £17.00 full adult, £15 concessions (code required), Group 10+ £12.50

Book Now: 01892 530613

Online: www.assemblyhalltheatre.co.uk

Submit your own question by emailing Caroline@thediscussionforum.co.uk

Additional names are regularly being added tothe panels so go to www.thediscussionforum.co.uk for the latest news