Lib Dems host EU debate in Alnwick

The event in the Methodist Church Hall, Alnwick, last Thursday.
The event in the Methodist Church Hall, Alnwick, last Thursday.

Europe and the upcoming referendum was the subject of a recent discussion night held by the Liberal Democrats in Northumberland.

The event was held in response to the wide interest from the local community in gaining more information on the details of the arguments for staying in or leaving Europe. Fiona Hall, previously Lib Dem MEP for the North East, and Julie Pörksen, parliamentary spokeswoman for the Berwick constituency, led the discussion which was attended by people from Berwick to Ashington.

Wide-ranging discussions were held, with an emphasis on people from the benefits of the movement of people and ideas through Erasmus and research programmes, the refugee crisis, through to common accessibility data standards for disabled tourists travelling throughout Europe.Investment in our regions and rural areas was considered along with discussion on what different future governments would support.

Democracy within Europe as well as Britain and Europe's place in the wider trading world and the implications of tariffs and the World Trade Organisation were discussed. The need for information, more facts and less bias by the national press was also stressed by the attendees, along with an interest on attending local debates with the opportunity to ask questions.

Ms Pörksen said: "Having the opportunity to express and discuss personal views on the UK's membership of the European Union was very useful. There is a real demand from people for more factual information as well as local meetings to be able to discuss the pros and cons of staying in or leaving Europe. It was clear that each person's reasons for wanting to stay in, or leave Europe are different and it is important that people can hold and express their views without being drowned in the torrent of misinformation that is rife."

Fiona Hall added: "The UK benefits hugely from being a democratic member of the EU. Peace, security, a level playing field for trade, and the clout that comes from being part of the world's biggest economy - this is the EU reality we need to shout about. Best of all, Britain has stability. We must fight to protect that stability in the face of a daily diet of untruth from some quarters."