Cheltenham political leaders need to get off the fence on Europe

Originally published 22 January 2016.

Cheltenham's former LibDem MP has called for local political leaders of all colours to show their hand on the coming European referendum.

"It's now quite clear that David Cameron will soon secure some kind of deal at European level and that he will use this moment to declare he's in favour of the UK staying in the European Union" said Martin Horwood.  "That will effectively fire the starting pistol for the European Referendum campaign."

"But it's equally clear that UKIP and many Tory ministers are gearing up their campaign to take us out.  I think that would be an absolute disaster for Cheltenham with its strong international business and cultural connections and its role in global cyber-security and counter-terrorism."

The Liberal Democrat parliamentary spokesperson for Cheltenham added: "The time has come for local political leaders to declare their hand.  I'm absolutely sure that Cheltenham and Britain are stronger, better off and safer with Britain in Europe than we would be out on our own.  Tim Farron and the Liberal Democrats will be campaigning for Britain to stay in and so will I."

"My Conservative successor Alex Chalk sits on every fence he can find for as long as it will bear his weight - on Europe, on fracking, on hunting, on education.  But this is the biggest issue facing the country today and local people deserve to know where he stands.  I predict that since he has followed the party whip 100% of the time so far, he will probably follow David Cameron into the 'In' camp but many of his party are going the other way and I think he needs to tell us his position.  He'll be welcome to join us if he really will be campaigning for a stronger future for Britain in Europe."


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