Bishop's Stortford residents explain why they will be joining the Put it to the People March
While Bishop’s Stortford’s Conservative MP Mark Prisk has made it clear he does not want a second referendum, some of his constituents will be marching for a People’s Vote this Saturday (March 23).
Co-chairman Stephen Skinner said: “East Herts for Europe was formed in January 2017 by those who had campaigned to remain in the 2016 referendum and is aligned to no political party.
“We started with regular street stalls in Bishop’s Stortford and soon discovered how enthused many people were that we were there to represent their views.
“Though our core support lies in Bishop’s Stortford we have held stalls in Sawbridgeworth, Ware and Hertford too and gathered more supporters, young and old from all sections of our community.
“Over the last 12 months over 1,500 people have signed our petition to Mark Prisk asking for a People’s Vote. We shall be marching with our banner on March 23.”
Here Bishop’s Stortford residents explain why they will be stepping out on Saturday.
Lucie Gallagher, 48, is a supply teacher and mum: “I am marching because I honestly believe we have the best deal already. Collaboration and diversity
is the way forward. We need to build bridges not walls. Isolationism doesn’t work, we are all better off when we are part of something rather than standing on our own.”
Tim Hammonds, 45, an accountant in the car industry from the town: “I’m so concerned about the impact that Brexit will have on the UK’s successful car industry. It was revived in the 80s as Japanese companies set up here as a gateway to the single market, and we now make 1.5m cars a year in the UK, but 1.2m of those are exported, mostly to the EU, which will be more difficult and more expensive after Brexit. Even before Brexit has happened we have seen thousands of job losses, reduced investment, cancelled models and the closure of an entire factory at Honda in Swindon, so we have to change course before it’s too late.”
Angela Barton said: “I am marching because I am aware of all the advantages we gained through joining the EU, and I don’t want to lose them. To mention just one – freedom to work and live in other EU countries. I know several people from this town who took up this opportunity, later married local people and had children. The future of these families is now in the balance as they will be unlikely to continue to be able to travel freely. Two friends work on a major research project which will move in 2020 from London to Paris as a direct result of Brexit, meaning those working there will be forced to choose whether to move with the work or lose their jobs. And we lose yet another prestigious research base. Is this really what leave voters were voting for in 2016?"
Mary Duckworth, 67, a retired nurse now doing paid and voluntary family support work: “As an ex-NHS employee, I have concerns about the effect of Brexit on our health. In 2016 there were 33,000 EU nurses and midwives working in the UK, plus thousands of support workers helping to maintain hospital services and contributing to the workforce in domiciliary and residential care. We also relied on the services of EU doctors and therapists. A year after the referendum the number of nurses applying to work in the UK had fallen by a huge 92%, coinciding with a vacancy level of 24,000."
Chris Wilson, 43, manager for Transport for London: “I do not believe the first referendum was fairly conducted. Vote Leave’s overspend has been ruled as illegal in court, and this has not been taken further as the referendum was advisory. Besides this, the consequences and complexity of Brexit were not known to anyone, nor could they have been and it is now clearer than ever that there is no easy deal that can be done with Brussels and nor will Brexit prove profitable.
“I also was lucky enough to live and work in Poland when I was younger. I believe the movement of people is a net good and I am proud to be part of celebrating that by marching. I want to show the many wonderful EU citizens who live, work and contribute in the UK that they are appreciated. I am marching for them too."
Ruth and David Samuels, both in their 70s, have lived in the town for 30 years. They said: “We’ll be marching to support democracy in action. In 2016 the UK voted narrowly to leave the European Union, many people influenced by the hopes and aspirations voiced by the Leave campaign. With actual facts and figures before us, we are at last in a position to make an informed decision about the UK’s future path. Whatever the outcome, this is what democracy is all about.”
John Strachan, a 51-year-old chemist, said: “I’m marching on Saturday to protect the future of my own children and young people throughout the UK. I want them to live in a tolerant, prosperous, outward-looking Britain. I want the two million new voters since the referendum to have a say in the future direction of their country. I want politicians to end their Brexit obsession and focus on the issues that really matter in this country such as exorbitant education fees, the impact of economic austerity and a lack of affordable housing.
None of these issues were caused by the EU and they are likely to be made worse by leaving.”
Murray White, 68, is retired: “I’m marching to ensure that my family and community can continue to enjoy the benefits of being part of the EU. So my grandchildren can easily live, work, study, travel and make friends throughout the Union. So my family’s local business can prosper by trading freely with other European companies without artificial and inefficient obstacles. So that local people will continue to benefit from jobs in the pharmaceutical and aerospace industries through collaborative projects with European organisations and companies, and in financial services through favourable access to European markets. So all nations of the UK can enjoy a harmonious relationship with each other based on trust and co-operation.”
Diane Scheffer, an artist, said: “My family has Spanish and German connections and feels threatened by the hostility and suspicion engendered by Brexit. They, like me, want to be able to freely live and work not only in the UK but all the countries of the EU.”
Barry Parkin, a 7-year-old retired soldier and former director of a Japanese tech company, said: “As an Army veteran who served with US, Belgian, Dutch and German troops, I believe Brexit reduces our military and civil security. In a dangerous world, with Russia and China flexing their military and cyber powers, Trump hesitant in support of NATO, and the continued threat of terrorism at home, we have to be as closely allied as possible with our EU friends."
Emma Mulhall, is a 48-year-old mum of three and English teacher, said: “I am taking my children with me to show them that truth is something that must be at the heart of every society. I believe in democracy and will take action to defend it. I will teach my children to do the same. If they told us the truth and we still voted to leave then I would no longer march. I would accept the decision. It’s truth that we must all fight for.”
To join them on the Put it to the People March, gather at Bishop’s Stortford railway station at 10.45am to travel by train to Seven Sisters and take the Victoria Line tube Green Park in the capital.