EU debate informs businesses

Businesses in West & North Yorkshire heard compelling arguments on both sides of the European Union referendum debate recently.

EUDebate JohnGrogan
Pro-EU campaigner John Grogan

The region’s Chamber of Commerce staged an event for members to listen to campaigners ahead of next month’s poll on whether or not the UK should stay part of the EU.  Despite a strong performance by all the panellists, none of the attendees changed their view as a result of the debate.

Stephen Wright, Chairman of West & North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and Managing Director of Thorite, said afterwards:
“Despite no-one delivering a knock-out blow in terms of getting people to switch sides in the campaign, I think people left feeling better-informed than when they arrived – and that was the main reason for staging the event.  Business people are primarily interested in the trade aspects of the EU, and the expanded labour pool; but are also concerned with excessive regulation and the lack of accountability.  All these issues were covered in what was a passionately-delivered, cut-and-thrust debate.  The speakers all knew their stuff, and they were well-marshalled by the veteran reporter Len Tingle.”

Speakers for the ‘Remain’ camp, MEP Timothy Kirkhope and former Selby MP John Grogan, were pitted against Philip Davies, the MP for Shipley, and venture capitalist and innovation specialist Jon Moynihan.  The event was hosted by Yorkshire Building Society, whose chief economist Andrew McPhillips was on hand to provide statistics and other data to ensure balance and parity.

EUDebate JonMoynihan
Leave campaigner Jon Moynihan

Attendees at the event appeared overwhelmingly to be in favour of staying in the EU, with only approximately 15% supporting Brexit.

For more on the EU (official campaigns, etc), see our dedicated EU page here.

The Chamber also staged an EU lunch event in York on Wednesday 4 May, when Adam Marshall of the British Chambers of Commerce provided highlights from the campaign so far.

Pic caption, L-R: John Grogan, Stronger in Europe; Timothy Kirkhope MEP; Andrew McPhillips, Yorkshire Building Society; Len Tingle, BBC; Jon Moynihan, Business for Britain; Philip Davies MP.