Cornwall for Europe send powerful video letter to MPs urging extension to Brexit transition period

With time rapidly running out for the UK government to request an extension to the Brexit transition period, and no sign of progress towards a trade deal, campaigning group Cornwall for Europe has sent a powerful video letter to Cornwall’s MPs urging them to ask Boris Johnson’s government to act before it is too late. The EU agreed the end of June as the deadline for an agreement on outline terms of Brexit but no progress has been made in talks, another casualty of Covid 19.

Thanks to video makers Chris & Rosalind Mugford

The video includes heartfelt pleas from a range of people in Cornwall whose families, businesses and livelihoods would be jeopardised by a “no deal” exit from Europe in December.

Gordon, who owns a kitchen ventilation systems business, says that disruption to their supply chains from a no-deal Brexit would cause severe problems: “We would struggle greatly. The USA is certainly not our saviour for this business and with sterling being weak, our import costs are rising regularly already. Boris, we need an extension. Give us that extension so my business is viable.”

The owners of a video production company describe how their business is being undermined by the looming prospect of a no-deal in December, and how this would mean a huge extra burden of paperwork and expense when filming in European countries: “These forms cost £650 minimum – if you’re taking more equipment they can cost more. They take a long time to fill out and you have to stop at every border – the exit border from the UK, the entry border to the new country, and then the same again on the way back. And then every item of equipment that you’re taking to that country has to be checked by a customs officer and signed off against the form. And if you’ve made one mistake, you’re turned back.

“The irony is that although we’ve filmed in Europe many times, one of the bigger trips we did recently was for the UK government to create films to encourage British companies to export! You’re looking at a massively increased cost for an industry in which the margins are really very small.”

Stephen, a retired GP from Newquay, says: “I’ve had a blessed life – no need to fight any wars, unlike my father and grandfather. Churchill himself said after the Second World War that the means to avoid future war is for countries to trade easily and fairly with each other. This has worked very well for my entire life, and I would like it to work extremely well for my children and grandchildren – that’s not even looking at the financial disadvantages of not having a good trade agreement.

“Battles come very easily, and we must avoid them. We must genuinely remain friends, and not just talk about ‘our friends in Europe’ without meaning a word of it.”

Emmanuelle, a French citizen living in Newquay, asks her MP, Steve Double: “I would like to know how you intend to safeguard the links to other EU countries for the 18,000 EU citizens in Cornwall and all their families. How will I be able to afford medical insurance for my family of four, or for my elderly parents to be able to come and visit me?”

Edward, from Feock, describes how his daughter is expecting a child any minute in Germany, and asks his MP Cherilyn Mackrory: “Can you guarantee our granddaughter’s rights to protection and medical care in her British grandparents’ country?”

Tom, from Falmouth, says he is extremely concerned by reports from the pharmaceutical industry that stockpiles of essential medicines are already at zero as a result of the Covid-19 crisis: “I have friends and relatives, as most people do, who depend on uninterrupted supplies of these things. I know at least one of them voted for Brexit, but he certainly didn’t vote for interruptions to supplies of drugs on which his life depends.

“I very much hope that MPs in Cornwall and around the country will put all the pressure they can on the government to get an extension to the Brexit transition period, because without that these people lives are going to be at risk. And we’ve seen already what a massive crisis there is as a result of lack of proper preparation. A no deal Brexit has not been properly prepared for, and we need to act very quickly to make sure disaster is not heaped on top of the current catastrophe.”

Anita, a Dutch citizen suffering from breast cancer who lived for years in Cornwall and whose daughter is still at school in Truro, said: “She wants to stay in the UK. We were told we could stay if we wanted to. But there’s no idea of what her future will look like. People say I should just bring her back to Holland – I can’t. She’s gone Cornish. She likes black tea with milk, she prefers pasties over our Dutch national dishes…

“And what about all these children who grew up in the English system? Do they just ditch that? They can’t – it’s become part of them. Their futures are there. Please, please – don’t leave without a deal. What are you gaining by doing that? You’re ruining the lives of so many families.”

Charles Boney, speaking for Cornwall for Europe, said: “We hope this video letter makes Cornwall’s MPs sit up and think.

“A report for Cornwall Council this week shows that as many as 72,800 jobs are at risk in Cornwall from the impact of the coronavirus. It is absolutely unbelievable that the government is now greatly increasing the likelihood of even more harm to people’s jobs and livelihoods by refusing to request an extension to the Brexit transition period. Negotiations are clearly not making progress, and the prospect of a hugely damaging no-deal at the end of December is now very real indeed.

“MPs need to think about the consequences of this to their constituents, many of whom are already facing an extremely very grim outlook. If they put ideology above the well-being of people in Cornwall, they will never be forgiven.”

Cornish EU campaigners take lead in urging Brexit extension

Cornwall for Europe, who campaigned for Britain to remain in Europe, are now campaigning for an extension to the exit terms which end in December, because of the Covid 19 crisis. They are urging Party leaders to actively campaign to change the Government’s mind about the strict deadline, which would mean that the UK could leave without any deal at all, unless a full trade agreement is negotiated. They have written an open letter to Sir Keir Starmer and gained the support of over 100 other groups, representing nearly 400,000 members across the country.

‘We were delighted at the huge response from Remain organisations when we circulated a draft of our letter’ said Charles Boney, Press Officer; ‘There are still many organisations adding their names to our list every hour.’

Tom Scott has helped organise the campaign said. ‘We have over 24,000 Facebook followers and on 10,000 on Twitter who are keen to help spread our message. We know the  corona crisis has dominated the last few months’ news but the Brexit negotiations have stalled and a no deal exit in December would be disastrous for the Cornish economy.’

Cornwall for Europe raises funds for victims of xenophobic hate crime in Cornwall

When campaigning group Cornwall for Europe saw that a Romanian couple who run a taxi service in Helston had been targeted by hate crime in the days leading up to Brexit on 31 January, they decided to do something about it.

The group started a crowdfunder to raise money to pay for the damage caused when the taxi belonging to Dragos and Mirabela Robatzchi had its tyres repeatedly slashed by vandals, who also left dog mess in the parking space of the Romanian family.

The response was extraordinary, and the group had met their initial target within 24 hours. With contributions still coming in, Cornwall for Europe say they will be using any additional funds raised to help other people from EU and other countries who have been similarly targeted by xenophobic hate crime in Cornwall.

“Whatever they feel about Brexit, we know most people in Cornwall want everyone to feel welcome here, and we felt that this was a practical way for people to show their solidarity and support for Dragos and Mirabela,” said Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of Cornwall for Europe.

“Many people from EU countries are feeling very anxious about their future in the UK right now, despite having spent years of their lives here and contributing in all sorts of ways to their local communities – as neighbours, co-workers and friends. We want to show them that they are valued and supported.

“We know that it’s only a tiny minority of people who commit such hate crimes, perhaps encouraged by some of the shameful anti-European rhetoric from some politicians and elements of the media that we’ve seen in the last few years. But unfortunately, we also know that what Dragos and Mirabela have experienced is not an isolated case, and that others have also been targeted in this way.

“We’re hugely encouraged by all the messages of support and solidarity that people have been leaving on our crowdfunder page. Cornwall has a long and proud tradition of welcoming people from all over the world, and nobody living here should be subjected to this sort of harassment and intimidation.”

Dragos and Mirabella with Cornwall for Europe campaigners

Along with a cheque to cover the cost of the damage caused to Dragos and Mirabela, Cornwall for Europe also presented them today with a bunch of yellow roses as a symbol of friendship and solidarity.

The Yellow Rose initiative was started by Cornwall for Europe member Jane Stevenson in 2018, and has caught on nationally. Jane said: “It’s a way of encouraging people to send messages of friendship to EU citizens in the UK and British people living in Europe – millions of whom have had their lives turned upside down by Brexit. It’s a simple way of showing that you care, and it’s led to thousands of people sending heartfelt messages with this symbol online as well as giving actual roses to friends, neighbours, colleagues and even complete strangers.”

Welcoming the support given by Cornwall for Europe, Dragos and Mirabela said they were deeply touched and that they looked forward to working with the group to strengthen ties of international friendship and understanding in Cornwall.

The crowdfunder, which has already raised around £1000, will be open for another week and is at

We are still europeans

Campaigners for Britain and Cornwall to remain in the EU will still think of themselves as European, say Cornwall for Europe.

The group organised hundreds of street stalls over the last two years, as well as meetings, marches and publicity stunts to advertise their cause. They believe that it is still possible, even after Brexit, for people to feel the identity of being European, as well as British or Cornish.

They are holding a special members event on Friday evening and will have a candlelit vigil at 11pm as Britain leaves the EU.

Chair of CFE, Emmanuelle Brook said:  ‘We will not stop feeling European and we are determined not to carry on being silenced as we have been since the referendum. We are today standing for our rights, and core values. Our message is friendship and solidarity in this adversity.’ Emmanuelle, who has French/British joint citizenship, is also involved with the group In Limbo, which supports the millions of EU citizens who continue to live and work in the UK.

Charles Boney, Press officer commented: ‘We believe Britain has made an historic mistake in leaving the EU. Our task now is to help ensure our relationship with Europe is as close as possible and we hope for the best trade deal possible – no deal or a hard Brexit will be disastrous for the Cornish economy. Campaigners like ourselves up and down the country will ensure the ideals and values common across Europe will be heard. Cornwall for Europe will be monitoring how Brexit affects individuals and groups and responding to events as they develop.’

The campaigners have also stated that their plans for future activities and events have not yet been decided, but depend on political events as they unfold. Cornwall for Europe has several thousand members, including people from all main political parties, as well as a huge social media following.

EU campaigners urge tactical voting in Cornwall

Cornwall for Europe, the campaigners for the UK to remain in the EU, is urging its members and supporters to vote tactically so that Brexit candidates can be defeated. Polls suggest that the Conservatives might be re-elected in all 6 of the Cornish seats but in most seats the number of votes for pro Remain parties may be in a majority.

Howard Farmer, a Cornwall for Europe organiser says: ‘If people vote tactically then Cornwall can have some Remain MPs but if the anti Brexit vote is divided, then we will get the same as in 2015 and in 2017. We cannot change the electoral system but we can vote intelligently; for some people this means voting for a party that is their second choice. We believe that there are at least three seats that might change hands.’

There are a number of tactical voting websites that can be used to seek advice but Cornwall for Europe believes that they do not all  use the most reliable data. Indeed, some of them cause confusion as there may even be biased towards a particular Party. Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of Cornwall for Europe said: ‘ We have studied all the websites and we are urging voters to use for the best up-to-date advice. This shows all the best researched websites and makes the choice clear.’

The campaigners have also been asking shoppers about their views on the election, at street stalls in Cornish towns. Sue Winter, stalls organiser, said: ‘We’ve been asking if people are considering tactical voting and often over 60% of voters say they might. If only half of the third and fourth placed parties switched sides it could mean that 2 or 3 seats change hands. In addition, there are many people who have simply not yet made up their minds yet.’

Some shoppers have also talked about other issues in the election, especially concerns on the style and character of Boris Johnson. Charles Boney, Press Officer, said: ‘Issues like something that is buried at page 48 of the Tory manifesto – the pledge to investigate the powers of the Prime Minister using the Royal Prerogative. Sounds obscure, but it means that Johnson wants more power to silence Parliament when he wants,  and to give his Ministers extra powers to extend Laws without Parliament’s full approval and debate. He wants to get his revenge on the Supreme Court who ruled against him in October.’

EU campaigners organise Big Red Bus Tour of Cornwall

Cornwall for Europe, the campaigners for Cornwall and the UK to stay in the EU, are organising a tour of Cornwall in a London ‘bus, decked with their slogans. It will be travelling throughout the County from Thursday 14th November starting in Launceston and completing its journey at Saltash on Saturday 16th November.

Cornwall for Europe are inviting their supporters, members of the public and Remain election candidates to join them in their campaigning. There will be main stops at Launceston, St Austell, Camborne, Penzance, Truro and Saltash as well as various halts at Business venues and photo opportunities   (see full schedule attached below).

Howard Farmer, one of the tour organisers said: ‘In the 2016 referendum Johnson launched the infamous bus tour from Cornwall. Waving a pasty he claimed that huge amounts of cash would be spent on the NHS if we voted for Brexit. That claim is now known to be a lie. We will be travelling throughout Cornwall talking to people about how they were misled. We urge all Cornish voters to support candidates that want us to Remain in the EU. Cornwall has gained so much from our membership and we fear a big loss to the local economy if we leave. It will be a great chance for members of the public to meet us and local candidates. We are also stopping at business venues who overwhelmingly back our campaign.’

Sue Winter, who organises street stalls every week, is also joining the bus and added: ‘At each stop we will be setting up our stall and have leaflets available, including advice on how to register to vote and get a postal vote. People only have about 10 days to get any Postal Vote application in. With cold dark nights, and also young people away at University, there is a danger of a low turnout – everyone has a right to get a Postal Vote. We will also be using our ‘brexitometer’ which gives a snapshot of people’s views on the Brexit situation. In recent weeks, people seem to have shifted even more in favour of a People’s Vote on Brexit.’

Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of Cornwall for Europe said: ‘We have a positive and hopeful message for people. Being part of Europe is all about Peace, Prosperity and Opportunity. When you trade with others, you don’t end up fighting them. When you end barriers and have a single market, you become more prosperous. When you allow freedom of travel and work, you give opportunities especially to the young. We look forward and see ourselves as being European as well as being Cornish and British.’

Charles Boney, Press Officer, said: ‘This election is like no other in our lifetimes. It is not just a ‘Brexit election’ but it is about the future direction of the country. Whether to turn our backs on our neighbours, or to embrace the wider European culture of a continent of 500 million who want to be our friends.’

Bus schedule
Thursday 14th:   10.30   Launceston   Market Square PL15 8AG, 13.00   KCS Print , 14.30   St Austell   Fore Street PL25 5PY
Friday 15th: 1030   Camborne Town Square TR14 8AT1300   Hedforwards (successful large IT business)  meeting with CEO Toby Parkin and staff at Pool Innovation Centre, 1400   Marazion near Jordans Cafe, photo opp/interview with Andrew George and Caroline Voaden MEP, 1430   Market Jew Street (top)  TR18 2BD
Saturday 16th: 1030   Truro 4 Pydar Street TR1 2BD, 1430 Saltash Retail Park, Carkeel,  PL12 6.

Cornish campaigners march with a million in London

About 500 Cornish protesters marched with about a million others in the huge rally in London on Saturday to call for a Peoples Vote on any deal to leave the EU.Many were up at 3 am to join coaches from all over Cornwall. Cornwall for Europe, the campaign group to remain in the EU, organised 4 coaches at stop off points all over the County, with many others making their own way to the capital.

Coach organiser Howard Farmer said: ‘The dedication of our supporters is amazing – they were determined to get to London once again at any cost. This is the fourth time that many of them have been on huge demonstrations like this. Each time the numbers and enthusiasm grows.’The protesters rallied at the Achilles Monument in Hyde Park and sang campaign songs until joining the main march, including a pro EU version of Trelawny, as well as parodies of various shanties and folk songs, such as ‘What shall we do with this rotten Brexit’ to the tune of Drunken Sailor.

Tom Scott said: ‘The Cornish campaign has started something of a trend in adapting well known songs to the political message. It boosts people’s spirits on any march and gets across our message.’

Cornwall for Europe’s marchers included people of all ages. CFE Chair Emmanulle Brook was there with her young family and said:’Many of us feel we are campaigning for the future of our children and young people generally. That is why we sponsored tickets for students who may have struggled to meet travel costs. Over recent years there has been huge collaboration in education across Europe. That may all be at risk, including the Erasmus project which enables young people to travel and study abroad.’

As the marchers got near Parliament Square the result of the day’s important vote became clear – effectively a delay in considering the Prime Minister’s deal. Charles Boney, CFE Press Officer reacted: ‘This gives a breathing space for MPs to study the deal properly. In the short space available this week, most of them have not even read the details and have been voting on what the Party Whips have told them. We believe that, after careful consideration, they will conclude that only the People can decide to confirm the deal in a referendum or decide we should remain members of the EU.’

‘Right to meet, not Right to lie’ say EU Campaigners in Cornwall

Cornwall for Europe, the campaigners for the UK to stay in the EU, have reacted to demands from some supporters that they should protest at the meeting on Monday 14th October of Nigel Farage, who is holding a Brexit Party Rally in Cornwall (Carn Brea Leisure Centre from 6 pm).

Their Spokesman Charles Boney said: ‘Although we disagree about nearly everything Mr Farage ever says, he is still entitled to hold meetings and have his say. But he has a right to meet, not a Right to lie. During the 2016 Referendum he told two particular lies – firstly that £350 million per week could be spent on the NHS if we left the EU, secondly that over 70 million Turkish people were about to come to Britain, many of them being refugees.’Mr Boney added: ‘Mr Farage is carrying out his democratic right to campaign, but we urge him to do so truthfully and, if possible, apologise for the way he has campaigned in the past.’

Instead of holding a protest at the Brexit meeting Cornwall for Europe is holding its own street stall nearby in Camborne – in the town Square opposite WH Smith from 4 to 6 pm. Howard Farmer, stall organiser said: ‘We are encouraging our members to come and talk to the public who want to discuss the Brexit crisis.  We are not interest in ranting and sloganising. We believe the facts are clear – a non deal Brexit would be a disaster, and the best deal possible is to stay in the EU.’

The Campaigners have also announced that they have nearly filled 4 coaches to the huge London rally planned for next Saturday 19th October. Cornwall for Europe Chair, Emmanuelle Brook said: ‘ Tickets have sold even faster than the million plus march held last March. London will be packed with protesters. Many Cornish folks are travelling up for the weekend and we expect about 500 people to rally under Cornish flags to stop Brexit and call for a People’s Vote. If Parliament decides to call a referendum on any possible deal, then we will be back on the streets in Cornwall next Monday persuading people to vote to stay in the EU.’

Fishing industry and MPs being misled, claim EU campaigners

Cornwall for Europe, the campaign group for Cornwall and the UK to remain in the EU, have claimed that the fishing industry and a local MP have been misled. They have been given an expert briefing by solicitor Sarah Adkins which, they believe, makes it clear that there will be huge problems exporting Cornish fish to France and the rest of the EU.

Their Spokesman Charles Boney said: ‘It is clear from Sarah’s report to us that Mr Gove’s reply to a Cornish MP is misleading. The way that fish will be traded under ‘no deal’ will be far more complex than his bland assurances suggest. 

An exchange between Derek Thomas MP for St Ives and Michael Gove the minister in charge of Brexit preparations smoothes over  the threat to the future of the Newlyn fishing industry. Despite assurances by Mr Gove that measures have been taken to “to ensure fish and shellfish products caught in the UK today can be sold in the EU tomorrow,” investigations by Cornwall for Europe show that the picture could be one of chaos in the vital export trade to the EU, which accounts for £7 in every £10 worth of fish landed in Newlyn, Cornwall’s biggest fishing port.’

‘Sarah’s information is clear: ‘As a direct consequence of leaving the Single Market Cornish Exporters face a blizzard of paperwork and delays, relying on decisions by EU Border Inspection Posts to waive the required 72 hour prior notifications for each shipment with every consignment requiring a costly Export Health Certificate as well as a catch certificate and customs declaration.’ She explained that all shellfish exports will have to enter France at Caen and fishery produce travelling through the Channel Tunnel will be sent to the Border Inspection Post at Boulogne for import inspections.  ‘Although Roscoff will be a Border Inspection Post after Brexit, Cornish fish that is now exported seamlessly via the ferry will face significant new red tape and cost’

Charles Boney added: ‘It seems that the Government will do anything to achieve any deal or no deal, however bad for Cornish fishing and farming. Fishing could well be hit as badly as Agriculture, which is facing massive trade barriers including over 40% tariffs on many meat products with no clear promises about how farmers will be supported. Mr Gove claims that fish caught today will be sold in Europe tomorrow – for Cornish fish we believe this is just untrue and we are surprised the MP representing Newlyn seems reassured.’

Sarah Adkins also reports that there are issues about signing off the export health certificates for fish and other animal products – Vets or Environmental Health Officers – and she says: 

‘Each exporting establishment must be approved by EU and there is now insufficient time for this process if there is no deal. Defra have been unable to provide any reassurance about this. Until UK establishments exporting produce of animal origin – including fish – have been approved (at least a 30 day process following EU approval of the UK as a 3rd country exporter) they are prohibited from exporting to the EU. The Prime Minister’s promise in the USA to make the most of de-regulation may impact the terms on which the EU approve the UK as an exporter to it’.

Cornwall for Europe run street stalls across Cornwall every week, organise meetings and marches to rally support for our EU membership. Howard Farmer, who helps run the organisation said: ‘We have already filled two coaches for the massive demonstration in London on 19th October and are booking extra ones so that people from all over the County can come with us to show how they feel about the current crisis.’

Cornish reaction to Supreme Court ruling

Cornwall for Europe, the local group campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU, welcomes the Supreme Court Ruling today. Their Spokeperson Charles Boney said:”This ruling makes it clear that Johnson lied to Parliament, and by implication, the Queen. We have been campaigning for over two years on the basis that he lied to the Cornish People when he launched the Brexit Campaign bus in Cornwall in 2016, stating that the NHS could have huge extra funding if we voted Leave. He continued to deceive the electorate when he launched the poster stating Turkey was to join the EU and millions of refugees could flock here. 

Today 11 Judges have unanimously condemned him.We continue to campaign with even greater vigour, we hold street stalls throughout Cornwall every week and we are organising coaches from all over Cornwall to the huge march in London on 19th October.’

Sue Winter, who helps organise street stalls added:’Johnson should resign, along with Rees-Mogg, who led the group of Ministers who went to see the Queen at Balmoral with Johnson’s message asking for Parliament to be shut down. The decision had not even been considered by Cabinet!’