Yesterday I got the chance to meet and hear Paddy Ashdown, former Leader of the Liberal Democrats campaigning to remain in the European Union.
He told a group of local press from Chester and myself that it was the “most important decision” since the end of the Second World War, and believes Europe should stay together for peace. He argued that a vote to leave would lead to the breaking up of Great Britain, as already stated by Nicola Sturgeon would trigger another Scottish referendum. It would create a “hostile Wales and Northern Ireland”, and we need to remain to keep the “Great in Britain”, while being economically sensible.
He stated the Brexit campaign has the view that “the Bank of England wrong, the IMF is wrong, NATO is wrong, the EU is wrong, the Commonwealth is wrong, and President Obama is wrong”. The only world leader who has shown to be wanting Brexit is President Putin of Russia. He also dismissed the concerns about immigration linked to terrorism in the world today; “because of globalisation, the enemy is inside the walls instead of outside. Terrorism is international, crime is international…” and international co-operation needs to occur to prevent these global crimes, not stopped by borders.
Paddy also spoke about the UK car industry among other economic and trade costs: “If we were to leave Europe, this is what would happen – you would have 10% put on every British car to be put into the continent”. In context that would be adding £1000 on average to every car, leaving car markers moving their operations elsewhere with job losses here.
He said the pound could be worth less, a slight rise in interest rates could occur, agricultural goods would go up in price, and other products would find new tariffs while being exported abroad.The negotiation the out campaigners are putting across as a main talking point could also take years to debate and discuss.
Lord Ashdown and members of the local Liberal Democrat party, spent over an hour campaigning at Chester Cross on a bright and warm day. This included Police & Crime Commissioner candidate for Cheshire Neil Lewis; who invited me to come along. Paddy also spoke to a group of visiting French students, using his French language skills.
Remember the EU referendum is on the 23rd June.