Cornish campaigners challenge to MPs as they prepare for London rally

Cornwall for Europe, the grassroots campaign for the UK to remain in the EU, have challenged local MPs to explain why people have no confidence in Parliament to sort out the Brexit crisis. They are sending two coach loads of supporters to a rally in London on Saturday 20th July which aims to tell people about the positive reasons for being in the EU.

‘We believe that people have no confidence in Parliament to sort out this mess. MPs have failed to explain to people the really good things about being in the EU. We have had the longest period of peace in Europe ever since we formed the EU, Cornwall has had huge economic support from regeneration funds, our young people have had massive opportunities to study abroad, and all of us have freedom to move around and live or work anywhere in Europe. Even free charges on phones, healthcare and cleaner beaches have happened! Yet we cannot find any comment from any of our MPs about these issues.’ said Emmanuelle Brook, Chair of Cornwall for Europe.

Howard Farmer, who attends many of the street stalls organised throughout Cornwall, added: ‘We ask people to have their say about Brexit using what we call a ‘Brexitometer’. Every time we see strong support for a People’s Vote and fears that Brexit will damage the Economy. The clearest vote is always the one about whether people have confidence in MPs sorting out the mess – hardly anyone says they have confidence in their MP.’   

Cornwall for Europe volunteers attempted to show their Brexitometer to MP Sheryll Murray at the Liskeard Show

Sue Winter was one of the campaigners who tried to show the Brexitometer results to local MP for South East Cornwall, Sheryll Murray at the Liskeard show. ‘We were astonished that she refused to look at the results. It would have been good to get her view on why voters have lost confidence in MPs to sort out this mess. It’s not just Conservatives – campaign groups all over the country are finding similar results. We are a cross party campaign group and it is so disappointing when an MP will not even engage in proper debate.’

Charles Boney, Press Officer, said; ‘ We will be pressing all Cornish MPs to engage with us. We have have supporters of all parties in our Campaign, except Brexit and UKIP, and  we are always polite in our discussions, even with strong Brexit supporters. We do not expect MPs to turn their backs on us. If any MP would prefer a private meeting, away from the public and cameras, then we would sit down with them. We just want them to take part in proper discussion.’

EU Campaigners set up new farming group

Cornwall for Europe has set up a new campaign group to engage the farming community in issues about Brexit. In the last year they have held over 100 street stalls in towns across Cornwall but are now branching out to form groups covering different interest groups such as farming.

Cornwall for Europe held their first farming stall at Hallworthy Livestock Market last Thursday. Attending on behalf of the group was retired farmer and regular stall organiser Howard Farmer who has organised similar events all around Cornwall on a regular weekly basis since the group was formed about 2 years ago.

Also attending were former Cornwall Councillor and farmer from Liskeard Jim Candy as well as Veterinary Surgeon from Bude Tom O’Sullivan. The organisers explained their main objective was to engage with the farming community and to listen to the concerns that led so many of them to vote to leave the European Union in the 2016 referendum. In anticipation of what might be the main issues, the group brought along the now familiar ‘Brexitometer’ with 5 questions which they believed to be relevant, given the present state of the Brexit debate.

Howard Farmer said “It is great to see how happy the majority of the people here are to discuss the issues with us, regardless of how they voted in 2016 which seems to have been a majority to leave”. He went on to observe ”while the vast majority of respondents are mistrustful of politicians in Westminster they are more or less equally divided on the support for a vote on the final deal, whatever it might be”.

Jim Candy said ”I am surprised that some farmers still support a no deal Brexit given the dire warnings from the National Farmers Union. The NFU is especially concerned in relation to the export trade of lamb meat to France”. Tom O’Sullivan said how pleased he was to be back having been Veterinary Surgeon at the market some years ago. “It is great to meet again with staff and farmers alike.  I am especially interested in the fact that for many farmers the burden of regulations was a major factor in deciding to vote leave, however when asked if they thought that burden would be lessened by leaving the EU, the clear majority agreed it would not”. Tom went on to say he felt the leave campaign had exploited the difficulties farmers, as well as other groups, face and promised solutions which it has now become clear are undeliverable.

Overall the organisers were delighted with the event and the team is planning to run more stalls at farming community events and continue to engage with the general public several times a week all over Cornwall.

One hundred street stalls

Cornwall for Europe, the grass roots campaign to remain in the EU, are increasing their campaigning in the run up to vital votes in the Commons next week.

‘We expect Cornish MPs to vote to avoid a no deal exit at the end of March which would be a disaster for the Cornish economy’ says their Chair, Emmanuelle Brook.

‘Agriculture would face immediate high tariffs on exports and fish would face delays risking freshness and quality. We are pleased that Sarah Newton, Truro MP, has seen sense and told a recent Chamber meeting she would refuse to back a no deal Brexit. We call on the other Cornish MPs to follow her lead.’

In recent months they have been running street stalls all over Cornwall and will be celebrated their 100th stall in Penzance on Wednesday 6th March (from 10.30.Market Jew Street near Lloyds)

Their Brexitometer surveys ask people to tell them their views on Brexit.

Howard Farmer, stalls organiser, says ‘The vast majority tell us they believe they will be worse off under Brexit. And a big majority want Brexit delayed. They believe Parliament has failed and the People should have the chance to have their say again’.

One of the Cornwall for Europe street stall teams in Looe earlier this year

Hundreds of people are now planning to get to London for a huge rally on 23rd March. ‘ Last October we sent a coach to London to join the 700,000 others marching for a People’s Vote. This month we have already booked three coaches with many others finding their own transport.’ says Sue Winter who is helping plan the coaches and runs many of the stalls.. ‘We believe Cornwall will send three times the number protesters because we think that Cornwall has changed her mind on Brexit. The march will be massive.’

Cornwall for Europe now has a huge social media presence. Tom Scott, who runs its facebook and twitter pages says ‘We now have more Cornish followers than any political party or MP. Our membership grows daily and we have become a real force. We will remain a cross party organisation focused entirely Britain playing a positive role in Europe.We urge all our supporters to make contact with the 5 Cornish MPs who have not yet declared clearly how their will vote next week.’