By Bev Haigh-Jones

European Movement official logo

Those of you who are already European Movement members will no doubt be aware that a new leadership campaign is underway.

Under the guidance of Lord Andrew Adonis as Chair, the Movement has been making huge strides in recent years to improve their internal structure and procedures. However, with Andrew’s resignation an opportunity has arisen to take EM to the next level, appointing a new Chair who can really create an impact by raising the EM profile nationwide, rather than just among the pro-EU faithful. We believe that, at all costs, we must guard against the possibility of returning to a situation where the members are primarily seen as a funding source, rather than being at the spearhead of a mass membership organisation.

The election process has been underway for several weeks, with nominees coming forward, providing statements of their aims and credentials, and acquiring nominations from members of the National Council. The result is that there are now three candidates going forward to the election process, which will be decided by the membership, so if you are a member, you will have a vote.

The three candidates are: Dr Mike Galsworthy, Tom Brake and Baroness Patience Wheatcroft and their video statements can be viewed via their hyperlinked names.

As far as Cornwall for Europe is concerned, with two of our committee members holding positions on the EM National Council, we are very much involved in the process and have specific views on the matter. The European Movement has been around for a long time but has never really reached the prominence that it should be capable of nor fully adopted a position of being the figurehead for grassroots EU groups. We strongly believe that this needs to change.

Repeated below is the statement from our own Chair, Howard Farmer, sent out in the recent email warning of the membership deadline for voting eligibility.

“The election is of very substantial importance as it will help determine how European Movement campaigns on a range of key Brexit/Europe-related issues.

Both Bev and I are members of the European Movement National council, we are very concerned that the Movement does not slip back to the model of old, when it was a club for academic chat about the EU, just when it is starting to be a progressive mass membership organisation that should be leading our fight to rejoin. Although the credentials of all three candidates are very impressive, two of them are only known in the corridors of power, rather than where I think the campaign will be fought – in hearts and minds on the streets. Consequently, I have nominated Mike Galsworthy to be the next Chair, as has Bev, and I believe that he will be able to inspire and lead our campaign.”

Naturally, it is up to each individual member to decide who they feel is most suited to the role of Chair. However, we feel that the greatest hope of EM becoming a household name, and thereby placing the whole of the pro-EU/rejoin community in the spotlight, is by electing someone with the energy and experience to bring together and expand the grassroots network. We believe that Mike Galsworthy is that person.

In addition to the individual video statements linked to the hyperlinked names, there is information on each candidate to be found on the European Movement website. In addition, Mike has set up a specific website of his own for the campaign,, once again demonstrating his drive and suitability to become the person to move EM forward in the right direction.

We sent a copy of the above editorial to Mike, so that he could add it to his collection of testimonials of support, and within his reply he provided the following quote.

“For me, the Chair position should be someone who is fully accessible to the branches – someone you can call up. It must be understood that the branches are only there in a voluntary relationship, they’re not owned by EM, but rather are there as a collaborating partner to be invested in, backed, and helped to grow. That’s key. Furthermore, we need a Chair who can credibly unify the other pro-European campaigns and groups on the same page. That’s when the European Movement becomes the engine behind a real UK-wide pro-European movement.”

Cornwall for Europe are wishing Mike the very best of luck in his campaign!

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