Milton Keynes Council has voted in support of staying IN the European Union.
Ahead of the referendum in June, councillors went ahead with the debate on the EU’s future - despite Conservatives’ desperate pleas to delay the motion out of respect for the victims of yesterday’s Brussels terror attacks.
The party walked out of the chamber in protest, but Labour and Lib Dems chose to carry on.
Moving the motion, Councillor Sam Crooks said: “Councillor David Hopkins and I were delivering leaflets for Britain in Europe during the 1975 referendum - neither of us ever imagined we’d be doing it all again 40 years later.
“But it is important that we do. I hope that the referendum will help people feel that they have been given a say on the EU and that it is more than just something that happens in Brussels.
“I believe there is a positive case to be made for Europe, and not just an economic one. It is also true of measures to harmonise security, arrest warrants and faster extradition.
“It is true again of legislation to protect workers’ rights, job security, consumer rights environmental protection, overseas aid and the inter-changeability of health, social security and pensions. This is not red tape.
“These are the basic foundations of a community that is striking the right balance between business, the social market and the environment.
“What has happened during the 40 years since David and I distributed those leaflets is that the EU has changed from a group of trading nations into a major international organisation.
“Why are we so afraid of that? The EU is the world’s largest market. And we are the world’s fifth largest economy and forecast to overtake Germany and Japan within the next 25 years, because of the age profile of our population.
“We – and Europe – have gained hugely from our membership through greater choices, wider opportunities, and increased cooperation.
But we have gained above all from the shared ambition to create a better continent based on enterprise in a fairer society.”
Earlier today Conservative Councillor Andy Dransfield told the Citizen that his opposition councillors were “out of touch”.
He added: “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.”
The motion was passed with 26 in favour and two abstentions.