The European Referendum will take place next week on June 23rd. It will be an historic event and currently looks set to be a very close result. The last time we had a vote was some four decades ago. Since then the EU has changed a lot. Back then we joined the Common Market - now we are members of the European Union. So it is right that we should all decide whether we want to Remain in the EU or Leave.
Ahead of the referendum I organised public meetings in Dover and Deal. There were speakers for the Remain and Leave sides. Hundreds of local people came and asked searching questions. In Deal people asked about the risks to jobs and investment. They raised their concerns about how the political instability would be managed if we voted to Leave. Immigration and border control worried many, as did human rights rulings. People were angry about tax dodging by large international businesses and whether people from Turkey might be allowed to come to Britain.
In Dover people were concerned about border security and small boats coming across. They wanted to see our border stay in Calais. There was a feeling that every party leader was for Remain which seemed at odds with the closeness of the likely result. Some asked what does Dover get from the EU while others highlighted the feeling that the EU is an elite grouping lacking democratic control. If we did Remain in the EU people thought that the EU had to reform - to become more democratic than it currently is.
Now, I have always been highly sceptical of the European Project. Yet I worry about the impact on jobs and money from the inevitable disruption of we vote to leave. It's also very important we see our border remain in Calais. The French on both the left and right sides have been pretty clear that if we vote to Leave they will return our border to Dover. Were that to happen it would be very bad for our area. We all remember how things were before the 2003 Treaty that brought in juxtaposed controls.
In this referendum I have the same vote as everyone else. Each of us must make our own decision. To decide what is best for us, our family and for Britain. We must think of the future we wish to make and the kind of country we want to hand over to our children and grandchildren.
I hope these debates have been be useful for everyone to get a better understanding of the issues and hear what both sides have to say. Above all do make sure you vote on June 23rd and have your say on our nation's future.
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