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Liberal Democrat MEP Dr Barbara Gibson visits Bedford to discuss Brexit and back Henry Vann

September 4, 2019 8:30 AM
Councillor Henry Vann with Dr Barbara Gibson MEP

Dr Barbara Gibson MEP and Councillor Henry Vann

Last Friday Dr Barbara Gibson, one of the Liberal Democrat MEPs for the East of England, visited Bedford to meet local high-tech industry with Bedford and Kempston Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Spokesperson Henry Vann, to discuss no deal preparations, and speak with anti-Brexit campaigners.

The visit included a trip round a high-tech employer in Bedford, as well as a meeting with Bedford Borough Council's Designated Brexit Officer (a post the Government required to be put in place a few weeks ago) for a briefing on preparations for a no deal Brexit; this included discussions on the status of EU citizens working in a range of services, particularly in social care as well as the supply of fuel, medicine and food.

Dr Gibson said "There is real concern from residents and industry about Brexit and the impact it could have on their businesses as free, frictionless trade risks being lost. With a no deal Brexit a genuine risk especially the type being pursued by the minority Tory Government. Mayor Dave Hodgson, Councillor Henry Vann and the Bedford and Kempston's Liberal Democrats are doing an excellent job supporting local people and businesses despite the dramatic cuts in funding from central Government. And with the Conservatives losing all their council seats in May, and the Liberal Democrats becoming the largest party, now is the time to join them.

Councillor Henry Vann added "People in Bedford deserve to have their voices heard. Whatever deal comes forward, it is quite right that people should be given the chance to have their say on it. We know so much more now than in 2016, and in a democracy, it is only right that people have the final say. The Liberal Democrats are on the up; in the local elections this year we became the largest party in Bedford Borough and are the biggest challengers to Brexit in Bedford. There are no Conservative Councillors left in Bedford and Kempston parliamentary seat, it is clear the next election will be between the Liberal Democrats and Labour locally."

Previously commenting on the decision to cancel Parliament for longer than normal despite the prospect of a no deal Brexit, Henry Vann, Parliamentary Spokesperson for the Liberal Democrats in Bedford and Kempston said "It is a complete disgrace. This Prime Minister hasn't faced the electorate and his government doesn't have a majority in the House of Commons. They claim to support democracy and want to return sovereignty to Parliament, but their actions show the opposite - they are trying to stop all scrutiny and just want to force a disastrous no-deal Brexit through. What are they scared of? The suspension of Parliament will also see hugely important legislation like the Domestic Abuse Bill dropped, it will halt scrutiny of the Conservative betrayal of Bedford's rail links, and is all the more scandalous in light of the doubts the Tories are throwing over the status of EU citizens - ending free movement and not putting anything in its place which could seriously affect long-term Bedford residents. Bedford is a diverse town with residents from across Europe and further afield; any politician supporting the suspension of Parliament, turns their back on Bedford's history and heritage. Representative democracy is not about shutting up, it is about speaking up and fighting for our local communities."