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poster brexit debate

IMAGE CREDIT: Cartoon, twitter
Martin Shovell, cartoonist
10 June 2016

As the country prepares for what is being described as the biggest crisis since Suez in 1956, Channel 4 News comes to the constituency to test the Zeitgeist of the nation.

In what is being seen locally as a coup for our MP Huw Merriman, cameras came to the constituency of Bexhill and Battle yesterday to record the views of local people as we approach the date (December 11), that could decide the fate of the nation for the next generation.

When Parliament votes on the Brexit deal put forward by Prime Minister, Theresa May, no one knows what will happen next.

Yesterday (November 30), Universities minister, Sam Gyimah, quit, pledging to vote against proposal in parliament By Theresa May.

He becomes the seventh minister to quit the Theresa May government over the question of Brexit.

Gyimah said the deal on offer would mean the country lost its voice in the European Union, while still having to abide by the rules of the EU.

He said, “In these protracted negotiations, our interests will be repeatedly and permanently hammered by the EU27 for many years to come. Britain will end up worse off, transformed from rule makers into rule takers.

In Bexhill last night, the audience, which was broadcast as part of the Channel 4 News, expressed a range of views, with a number expressing similar sentiments.

As a leitmotif of the moment, the broadcast is being seen locally as both representative of the constituency of Bexhill and Battle as well as, in part, the mood of the nation is this most troubled of times , perhaps the biggest crisis in the affairs of the nation from a constitutional point of view we have seen in our lives in peace time.

We are in uncharted territory as a country.

As well as the critical vote in Parliament in 10 days time, in which the vote for the Mrs May plan is being seen as a ‘mathematical impossibility’, in the days that follow, we do not know whether we will see the Prime Minster resign, whether the vote will trigger a call for a second referendum, if we will fall off the Brexit cliff, or even if an election will be called.

Given the fact that on 29 March 2019, as things stand, the terms of article 50 are invoked, the country stands on a cliff edge looking into the abyss.

Local MP Huw Merriman, who voted to remain in the 2016 referendum, has been open and transparent with his constituents over the question of Brexit.

Talking in the Pevensey Bay Journal on 10 June 2016. before the referendum, MP Huw Merriman said, “by the time you read this article, the decision on Britain’s membership of the European Union will be known. We will either be carrying on within the European Union, albeit on amended terms, or we will be entering a new period of our history and with much to do. We live in a remarkable country, which has had to adapt and change over the centuries, so I feel confident that we will rise to the challenge no matter what comes before us.
—Huw Merriman, MP for Bexhill and Battle, 10 June 2016

The prescience of his view is noteworthy.

He said last night (November 30) that he intends to vote for the plan put forward by the Prime Minister in the critical vote for our county in Parliament on December 11.

Michael Crick, on Channel Four News recorded this decision as being his view at the end of the vox pop section of the broadcast last night.

Whatever happens in 10 days time, without question, what Huw Merriman has done as a local constituency MP is noteworthy and a credit.

When he first stood as an MP (2015) he held a series of hustings, one of which was undertaken in the ‘debating chamber’ of the Priory Court Hotel here in Pevensey, hosted by ex-archbishop of Canterbury, PR adviser, George Pitcher.

Since that time he has hosted meetings across the constituency, not just at election times, but throughout his stewardship as an MP. These meetings have included discussions not just of Brexit but discussions about the value of democracy.

The meetings have seen him talk in schools and colleges across the constituency.

In particular, encouragement to young people in the constituency to talk and debate questions that are vital to the future of the country is something of value.

Nothing could be more vital to young people in this country than knowing as a generation whether or not we will be part of the European Union.

The fact that the influential commentator Michael Crick and Channel 4 chose to come to the constituency of Bexhill and Battle last night (November 30) to test the mood music of the nation at this critical time is as much a credit to local MP Huw Merriman, as to the people of Battle and Bexhill.

Whatever happens in 10 days time, democracy will continue in this country and “the will of the people will be heard”.

The principals and importance of these questions of democracy and our openness as a country to participate and decide our fate in this way continues to be a beacon to the world.

Huw Merriman must be one of the most hard working local constituency MPs in the country with regard to town hall style hustings, meetings and debates across local communities here in the constituency of Bexhill and Batttle.

The fact that in a local MP Huw Merriman we have someone who does not just genuflect with regard to the principles of democracy, but in relation to his working life, in part, dedicates himself to promoting these principles in schools, colleges and town hall style meetings across the constituency is to his credit.

The people of the Bexhill and Battle constituency spoke with articulacy.

As we saw in the meeting captured by Channel 4 and broadcast to the nation last night, from Bexhill, the mood music of the nation is confusion and anger and to a certain extent, outright dismay.

The work of an MP is to represent the views of the people. This is what the meeting did last night in Bexhill, organised by local MP Huw Merriman.