MK Council expected to vote to STAY in the European Union

MK Council is likely to vote to STAY in the European Union - despite Milton Keynes being one of the most eurosceptic areas in the UK.

Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 3:50 pm
Updated Wednesday, 23rd March 2016, 3:52 pm
Milton Keynes Council

Tonight Lib Dem Councillor Sam Crooks will call for a vote in the city chamber, urging councillors to vote in support of remaining in the EU.

He said it was a chance to get the debate started - and offer assurances to foreign businesses based in MK.

But the move has been slammed as “out of touch” by his Tory colleague Councillor Andy Dransfield who is a strong Leave campaigner.

He says his party is likely to abstain from tonight’s vote in protest of the motion, despite the likelihood of both the Lib Dems and Labour Party pushing it through.

Mr Dransfield said: “MK is a eurosceptic city and the councillors who are voting to remain in the EU are out of touch. “They need to listen to the wishes of the people of Milton Keynes.

“The net cost of being part of the EU is huge and MK is suffering because of it.

“There are a huge number of immigrants coming to the UK, with the city taking its fair share. This is overwhelming our central services such as health and education, as well as causing real difficulties with housing in MK.”

Last month, YouGov research found Milton Keynes to be the 14th most-eurosceptic place in the UK.

Even MK’s two MPs are split over Europe as Iain Stewart MP supports the leave campaign, while Mark Lancaster MP veers towards being a “reluctant” IN supporter.

Defending his decision to move the motion, Mr Crooks said that “party politics had been suspended” - and tonight everyone has a free vote.

He said: “This is the last chance we will have to debate it before we are in the throws of the referendum.

“We have a number of big businesses from overseas, such as Santander, which need to have our reassurance that the city welcomes them here.

“I would much rather we were open and honest about how we stand.

“By doing the vote now it will allow for a few months of debate before the referendum on June 23.”

If the motion is passed, MK Council will write to the Prime Minister in support of remaining in the EU.