Dozens attend Brighton launch of cross-party Vote Leave campaign as EU referendum looms

Posted On 04 May 2016 at 2:40 pm

From left, Sir Andrew Bowden, Tom Bewick, Anne Meadows, Steve Bell and Chris Grayling

Dozens of people attended two events in Brighton as a cabinet minister fired up the cross-party Vote Leave campaign at the weekend.

Chris Grayling, the Leader of the House of Commons, spoke about the referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union taking place next month.

After a photoshoot outside the Royal Pavilion, Mr Grayling addressed campaigners at the Jury’s Inn Brighton Waterfront hotel, telling them: “We’ve got an important job to do over the next eight weeks.

“We have eight weeks to change the future of our country. And we have eight weeks to take back control of our country.”

From left, Sir Andrew Bowden, Tom Bewick, Anne Meadows, Steve Bell and Chris Grayling

He focused initially on trade, saying: “We are the principal country in the Commonwealth but we can’t make our own trading arrangements with the Commonwealth.

“Switzerland has managed to negotiate free trade arrangements with more of the world. 

“We buy more from the EU than they buy from us. The discussion should be more about how they can retain access to our markets.”

He emphasised the need to win support in Brighton for the Leave campaign, saying: “We are in a cosmopolitan city, an outward-looking city, a thoughtful city.”

But, Mr Grayling said, it’s also a city where people want to get on the housing ladder, be able to see a doctor and choose a school for their children.

Those things were harder, he said, when we don’t have control of our borders and the number of people arriving in Britain is equal every year to a city the size of Newcastle.

Of migrants, he said: “They are great people who will make a great contribution to our economy but we can’t currently build fast enough to house them.

“This is not about race, creed or colour. It’s about the need to take back control of our borders and the need to take back control of our democracy.”

Mr Grayling also reminded supporters about the dire warnings by prominent Remain campaigners when the single currency – the euro – came into use.

But Britain had thrived outside the eurozone while countries like Greece and Spain had suffered.

He said: “The euro crisis is not over. The only way a currency union will work is if you have a political union.”

Mr Grayling added: “This is a country that wants to leave the European Union. There is a brighter future outside. Let’s make 24 June our Independence Day.”

He was followed by fellow Conservative and former europhile Sir Andrew Bowden, who served as the MP for Brighton Kemptown from 1970 to 1997.

Sir Andrew said: “It’s all about sovereignty.”

He said that there would one day be a United States of Europe – “It won’t happen in my lifetime’. It may happen in my children’s but probably in my grandchildren’s.”

As a result, he said, Britain would have no control over ket foreign policy, military, economic and financial decisions.

Sir Andrew, 86, said: “In the last century we lost the dream of two generations of young people in two ghastly world wars.”

But because we never wanted another world war, Sir Andrew said, we signed up for something which we were told would bind us through trade.

Instead, we have ended up losing “our freedom, our rights and our sovereignty”.

He said that he voted to stay in when the last referendum took place in 1975 having been persuaded by Ted Heath, who was Prime Minister when Britain joined what was then known as the EEC (European Economic Community) – or the Common Market.

Sir Andrew said: “Ted Heath told me personally it was a trade treaty. He was not telling me the truth.”

The meeting, chaired by Labour councillor Anne Meadows, heard from another Conservative, Councillor Steve Bell, who said: “It’s good to see so many people here from all parties and none.

“It’s great to have Chris, Sir Andrew, Tom (Bewick), Anne and others, but what matters is the voice of the ordinary person on the street.”

He quoted the former Labour leader Harold Wilson, who was Prime Minister when the last referendum was held, saying that it’s a vote not just for yourself and your children but your children’s children.

Labour councillor Tom Bewick said: “We all care passionately about our country and want to take back control.”

He set the issue in an historical context, saying that the Battle of Lewes took place a few short miles away in 1264.

“Simon de Montfort led the fight against an overweening and tyrannical king,” Councillor Bewick said, “and in some ways that’s what we’re facing today.”

He criticised the European superstate, adding: “I run an international business. I’m not some little Englander.”

He said that he wanted to be able trade more freely with the economies of Asia and elsewhere and said that, outside the EU, Britain would be better placed to do that.

He also said that if Britain left the EU it would be better able to control public spending, deal with the pressure on local school places and on the National Health Service.

And, he added, “we could build even more of the starter homes we need in the city and Anne is leading on.”

The referendum takes place on Thursday 23 June.

  1. Burlington Bertie Reply

    I’m glad it was ‘dozens’ and not ‘hundreds’ or even ‘thousands’.

    More swivel eyed Xenophobes on the loose.

    There’s nothing to see here, move on

  2. Victor Reply

    I was at this meeting and I had the good fortune to speak to Mr Grayling afterwards. I found him to be the genial fellow I was expecting, and he let me into a little secret. Once we’ve freed ourselves from Europe and sent the Scots packing into the bargain, the present ‘PM’ Mr Cameron will be nothing more than an empty skin with no skeleton or muscles on the inside! So much for Comrade Corbyn either he is nothing but a sawdust-filled carrier bag. In an England and Wales and Northern Island run by Grayling we will truly see this country become great once more, and France and Germany shall be forever in our shadow.

  3. @pperrin Reply

    Dozens? Wonder where they have been hiding? There’s just a few of us who have been been out on the brexit/vote.leave stall just about every Saturday for weeks – (New Road) and didn’t even know this was happening…

  4. Valerie Paynter Reply

    The EU has done a few good things – like outlawing battery hen caging and the human rights act which wiuld not otherwise have happened.

    Since 1975 and our IMF bailout what has really boosted the economy, while also destroying us as a socuety, is Capital-Gains-free house trading and hoovering of property by people living abroad.

    Pre-EU the low-paud could buy property and renting was easy. Since joining the EU our streets have become home to rocketing numbers, the NHS has begun to crumble; but maybe Brexit and breaking up that 3rd tier of governance based in Brussels would rescue Greece and Spain and once the EU crutch is thrown away, I reckon the whole continent will calm down, with each according to his means again having some meaning and Putin no longer having reason to buzz our airspace and seethe over Ukraine.

  5. Seb Reply

    Here is my essay about how Britain was a more liberal society when it was independent:

    We have a street stall in Brighton every Saturday. If you want to get involved in the campaign or accuse me of being a swivel-eyed xenophobe than feel free to email me
    Ace! S-

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