Letter: Let’s have a civilised debate on Brexit

This letter sent to the Star was written by Veronica Hardstaff, Northfield Close, Sheffield, S10

Thursday, 3rd October 2019, 1:41 pm
Updated Friday, 11th October 2019, 7:49 am
An EU flag flies in the face of Parliament

Mary Steele, (letters, October 2), again demonstrates her assiduity in checking what a number of people have said over the years, and where they have changed their mind, possibly because circumstances and facts have changed. I suspect if she were to list every time our Prime Minister has said something which contradicts what he said yesterday or last week, that would fill a whole letters page!

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I once had a letter in my possession from the 1960s Labour Committee for Europe, and I am almost sure among the MPs’ names at the top was Anthony Wedgewood Benn, who did change his mind about Europe. His son Hilary, who is as well informed as anyone in this country as Chair of the Parliamentary Committee for Brexit about the consequences for this country of leaving the EU, takes a different view again. Terry Palmer, (September 20), like Cyril Olsen on September 27, attacks MPs for doing what they believe is in the best interests of their constituents. Ironically, Paul Blomfield had a 70% remain vote in Sheffield Central, thereby reflecting a large majority view of his constituents, but still gets attacked. The job of MPs is to examine facts concerning proposed legislation and to make an informed assessment before deciding how to vote on issues.

It would be good if we could all, whatever our views on Brexit, avoid words like “liar”, unelected dictators”, “traitors” and “surrender” and have a civilised discussion based on facts. The EU only legislates on rules of the single market, and if all our MEPs were doing their job conscientiously in Parliamentary Committees in Brussels, as one of the bigger EU countries, we should have a lot of influence in framing them. Our water quality, air quality, food safety, workers’ rights, consumer protection etc. have all been improved through European legislation. If we do not have a proper agreement in place before we leave, we shall no longer be eligible for free health care when travelling in the EU, we shall have to pay roaming charges on our mobile phones and our police will not have access to data bases to catch criminals.

It was a pleasure to meet up with Ruth Grimsley in a café and have a very civilised discussion, despite our differing views on Brexit.