General election 2019: Brouhaha over Brexit makes for a lively hustings meeting in Sherington, near Milton Keynes
A would-be MP defended his decision to vote for Brexit at a lively general election hustings event just days before the general election.
Ben Everitt, the leave-supporting Conservative candidate in Milton Keynes North found himself outnumbered two-to-one by remainers on the candidates’ panel, as well as a series of hecklers at the event in Sherington on Monday.
“I voted to leave in 2016,” said Mr Everitt. “The next government should ratify the deal on the table and move forward on friendly trading terms and develop a strong partnership with our European friends.
“The uncertainty is horrendous and incredibly damaging. We had a deal ready and a parliament that would not accept it. That’s why we’re having this get Brexit done election.
“You have to ask which party would add uncertainty and which would get it done.”
Mr Everitt had found himself agreeing with his Labour opponent on many issues, but on this one they are polls apart.
Labour's Charlynne Pullen is seeking to overturn a slender 1,975 vote majority that the Tories achieved with their candidate and former MP, Mark Lancaster in 2017.
She said: “I was a campaigner for remain in 2016. The Labour Party’s policy is to negotiate a new deal and put that with a remain option in a referendum.”
But unlike Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who says he will remain neutral in that referendum, she says she “will campaign to remain.”
The Lib Dems position on Brexit, if they form a government, is to just stop the process. But if they don’t form a government, they support a People’s Vote.
The Lib Dem candidate in MK North, Aisha Mir, was absent from the hustings. Her business, in Birmingham, had been broken into by criminals only a few hours before.
Green Party candidate Catherine Rose is also a remainer. She thinks breaking from the EU would be a “really bad move” which “takes time away from what we should be doing” to stop climate change. She supports a People’s Vote referendum.
“We’ve spent three years going round and round in circles and going down the plughole,” she said. “The EU isn’t perfect but be can’t change things without being in the club, and we should stay there.”
In a lively 90 minute event, the panellists also fielded questions about trust in politicians, the future of the NHS, child poverty, homelessness, and plans for housing growth in Milton Keynes.
All the candidates agreed on the need for more housing.
But Catherine Rose wants “brownfield” land built on before green fields, as well as bringing empty homes back into use.
Charlynne Pullen blasted previous MP Mark Lancaster for helping to scupper Government growth funding in 2018. The Tories had objected to a deal with the Labour-run council because it would “concrete over rural north Bucks”.And Ben Everitt said he wanted “sustainable and appropriate growth”, hitting out at Labour’s “horrendous” plans.