This article is a summary of comments made by the four candidates for the Ludlow constituency in the three hustings hosted by BBC Radio Shropshire and St Laurence’s Church. The candidates discussed Brexit and whether to hold a second referendum. They set out their party’s positions on those EU nationals who live and work here after the UK leaves the European Union.
Labour and the Lib Dems say EU nationals in the UK will have a right to stay. The Greens and Conservatives say it will be down to negotiation.
The Greens and Liberal Democrats want a new referendum on the final Brexit deal. Labour see Brexit as contractual negotiation. The Conservatives think they have strong leader to negotiate, with MPs having the final choice on which EU rules get retained in British law.
Conservative, Philip Dunne. I voted to remain but had said I would respect the outcome of the referendum whatever the outcome. The choice is between Theresa May and the team around her, some of whom voted to remain, and Jeremy Corbyn and his team who have never led a negotiation. Theresa May is providing strong leadership to this country. She has got what it takes to get the best deal for Britain. Through the Great Repeal Bill, we are going to incorporate all the EU laws that currently govern this country into the UK. It will be up to the UK parliament to decide which of those they wish to repeal. We have to go into a negotiation with a willingness to walk away. No deal would mean reverting to trade arrangements through the World Trade Organisation.
Labour, Julia Buckley. The nature of our contract with Europe is a legally binding contract. You have to respect the law and you have to cooperate with your partners. We sign up for environmental protection, consumer rights protection, the working time directive, and maternity and paternity pay. What we keep and don’t keep will depend entirely on the negotiations of this Brexit. There are pros and cons in Europe. Labour’s job as balanced party with a balanced view about the pros and cons, we would go in and treat this as a legal, business negotiation. We’ll be looking for the best deal. We are defined by the working man [sic]. Half of the working men [sic] don’t like Europe and the other half do. We would not walk away with no deal because we understand this is a legal and financial deal. We wouldn’t accept a bad deal but we must respect the rule of law.
Green, Hilary Wendt. We would like another referendum as at the moment its crystal ball gazing. Nobody as a sense of what sort of deal we are going to end up with. If the price of Brexit is £100 billion – Eric Smith interjects, it’s not – and the price is the NHS opened up to further privatisation and giving up environmental and social protections, we think the British people should be asked, is that the deal you want?
Lib Dem, Heather Kidd. We want a referendum on the deal because nobody knew what the deal was going to look like and we still don’t know. If the economy suffers, farmers are left worse off, and the NHS is taxed for workers coming in, we will put this deal to the people. That is democratic.
What will their status be after Brexit? Will they be excluded from our country or allowed to stay?
Lib Dem, Heather Kidd. Allowed to stay.
Conservative, Philip Dunne. The prime minister has been very clear. She wants this to be one of the earliest things to resolve once negotiation gets under way to reassure those EU citizens who are working and living in the UK that they can continue to stay.
Green, Hilary Wendt. I certainly hope [they will be allowed to stay] and I hope that we will negotiate on that basis.
Labour, Julia Buckley. We would protect the rights of EU citizens to stay here.