Britain stronger in Europe marked the 100 days point until residents in Brighton and Hove will join voters from across the country in deciding whether to remain or leave the European Union.
Whilst the Conservative Party has not adopted an official position, opposition parties in the city have united to stress the importance of voting to remain.
Hove and Portslade MP, Peter Kyle, Liberal Democrat Chris Bowers, and Green Party co-Chair Davy Jones joined their activists as well as people of no political affiliation on Saturday to hand out leaflets on behalf of the Britain Stronger in Europe Campaign.
Peter Kyle, who is spearheading Labour’s Remain campaign in the South East, stressed the economic and mobility benefits the EU brings the city.
He said: “We have just 100 days to secure our future—that’s a future where the small businesses of Brighton and Hove will have a bigger market and more ability to succeed in the modern economy. That’s 100 days to vote to have freedom of travel across the European Union knowing that our roaming charges will stay low and that we have free access to healthcare. And we have 100 days to ensure that together as a group of 28 nations we can tackle the big challenges our country faces and have a better chance to succeed in the long run.“
Liberal Democrat Chris Bowers highlighted the importance of making a positive and passionate case for staying in the EU because of the stability and environmental benefits it brings.
He said: “It’s very important that the people who want to stay in make the case passionately. Firstly, the EU has played a massive role in helping us keep the peace in Europe. The out campaign want to attribute this to NATO, but it’s more than NATO, it’s about creating the economic incentives and ways of working together that mean we never go to war again. The other thing that’s important to stress is how being a part of a 28-nation bloc means we can achieve decent environmental legislation. Climate change deniers try to resist environmental laws by arguing they will damage international competitiveness, but if all countries in Europe are bound by the same laws, that argument holds little water. For example, legislation to reduce CO2 emissions from cars would not have been possible if it didn’t apply to all carmakers with factories based in the EU.”
Brighton and Hove Green Party co-Chair and 2015 Parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown, Davy Jones spoke up for how the EU guarantees high environmental and safety standards across Europe.
He said: “The Green Party Stands for staying in Europe. We think there are lots of benefits to being in Europe, things we take for granted like good beach quality, high quality standards on things like food regulation, and other important issues which come from our being members of the European Union. Also, most of the major problems in the world, things like the refugee crisis, the economic crisis, and climate change can’t be solved by us being a little country out on our own. We have to co-operate globally, internationally with our friends and neighbours. That’s why we support internationalism, that’s why we support the European Union, and working to make the European Union a better organisation.”
Michael Wilbur, who chairs the Brighton and Hove Liberal Democrats and helped organise the cross-party event, added: “It’s a great feeling to put aside our differences and to work together on this very important issue. Of course this decision isn’t really about what political parties think, but we have a role in standing up for our Union with Europe and we can help make the case effectively by working together.”
The Conservative Party has not adopted an official position, however, Prime Minister David Cameron has confirmed his view that leaving the EU would push up prices in shops, put jobs at risk, and make the country’s streets more dangerous. Simon Kirby, MP for Brighton Kemptown, backs Cameron’s plan for a renegotiated relationship with Europe.