July 23 2014 Latest news:
Story by: JOHN ELWORTHY
Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Residents get the chance to debate Europe on Thursday evening at a public meeting at the Brook, Soham.
Speakers will include MEP David Campbell Bannerman, Labour’s Alex Mayer, Councillor Paul Bullen, UKIP leader on Cambridgeshire County Council and Tom Hunt, an East Cambs district councillor.
Ely Standard Editor John Elworthy has accepted an invitation to chair the meeting and he promised to “keep the speeches to a minimum” to allow plenty of opportunity for questions from the floor.
Cllr Hunt, at 24, the youngest Conservative candidate for the forthcoming European elections, has helped to organise tonight’s meeting.
“I hope we have a good turnout and it’s a vibrant, engaging and interesting debate,” he said. “I think we need more informal, engaging debates on all sorts of issues that seek to reach to and engage with voters and the things they care about.”
Views on Europe, the question of if or when to hold a referendum and the powers of the European Parliament will be among the hot topics under scrutiny.
The meeting will see the coming together of a former UKIP political ‘heavyweight’ Mr Campbell Bannerman- who defected from the Tories to UKIP only to return- and UKIP’s Paul Bullen.
Mr Campbell Bannerman is a Conservative MEP for the East of England. He was first elected to the European Parliament in June 2009 on a UKIP slate before defecting back to the Conservatives. He has been variously both party chairman and deputy leader of UKIP/.
He was responsible for writing the UKIP manifesto at the last election – a document later branded as “drivel” by UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Labour will be represented on the panel tonight by Alex Mayer of Chittering who works as a community fund raiser for the British Heart Foundation but also sits on Labour’s National Policy Forum. She is a life member of English Heritage and the National Trust.
Cllr Hunt was elected to East Cambs Council in 2011 and says he remains “passionate about trying to get young people more involved in politics both by voting and standing as a candidate.”
His employment record includes a spell with MEP Geoffrey Van Orden, vice chairman of European Conservatives and Reformists Group and, like Mr Campbell Bannerman, a Conservative MEP for the East of England.
Also due on the panel is David Grace who has previously written a blog which he described as “crumbs from the breakfast table of an unreconstructed Liberal.”