7,000 Maxonians call for second EU referendum
MORE than 7,000 Maxonians have signed a petition calling for a second EU referendum.
As of yesterday 7,275 residents had signed the online petition calling on the government to hold a second vote on remaining in the EU. This is 7.7 per cent of the constituency population of 93,856.
It came after Macclesfield bucked the national trend with a majority of 54pc voting to stay in the EU. The UK voted by 52pc to 48pc to leave.
Coun Lesley Smetham, councillor for Gawsworth who has signed the petition, said: “We need a second referendum because people didn’t have the right information or understand the full implications and have now realised what they’ve done.
“The fallout could be much worse than people thought and will be felt in Macclesfield. We’re going to have to save more from the council budget. We have pockets of deprivation around Macclesfield and a silk heritage to protect.
“EU money has helped projects in Macclesfield and there is money for rural jobs and regeneration from the EU’s LEADER programme. There’s a huge number of things we need to look at and I’m concerned.”
Andrew Haldane, chairman of Macclesfield Liberal Democrats who signed the petition, said: “The Macclesfield economy is more dependent than most on science industries. If there is an economic downturn, replacing EU research funding from our own pockets will be difficult.”
Nearly four million people have signed the petition nationally but David Cameron has said there will be no second vote.
Commenting on the decision to leave the EU, Clare Hayward, from Make it Macclesfield, said: “Macclesfield has been damaged by indecision over many years and the last thing we need is more uncertainty.
“I’m proud of our town and things such as our entrepreneurial spirit and great local produce won’t change, but the pharmaceutical industry could be impacted. We need to ensure Macclesfield is attractive to those that want to invest here.”
MP David Rutley, who voted to remain, said there shouldn’t be a further referendum. He added: “I have concerns but we have strong fundamentals in our Macclesfield economy and a highly skilled workforce with a clear focus on life sciences. I will work with ministers and talk to AstraZeneca about their future plans.”
A spokesman for AstraZeneca said: “We believe that the UK remaining in the EU would be in the best interests of patients, our industry and our company, but we respect the democratic decision reached in this referendum. Clearly, there will now be a protracted period of transition and we will engage with all the relevant stakeholders to safeguard the competitiveness of the life sciences industry and the speed of patient access to innovative medicines.”
Nigel Schofield, chairman of the Macclesfield Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise, said the Leave vote had come as a surprise. He said: “The shockwaves have been of such a scale precisely because of the strength of the UK in terms of world trade and economic activity. These shockwaves are all the greater because of the element of surprise and current uncertainty.
“Fortunately the UK is now in a position of considerable economic strength and well placed to overcome the disruptive effects of the Referendum result and we must follow the lead of our Chancellor of the Exchequer in keeping a cool head and turn our attention to take measures which address the concerns of those both at home and abroad.
“Your Chamber and the LEP are already working together to reassure the local business community and hence the people of North East Cheshire that every effort will be made to take appropriate steps to provide confidence in our future prospects and address the needs of those who may face short term problems due to the uncertainty, by providing expert guidance and support.”
Any petition that attracts 100,000 signatures on Parliament’s website automatically gets considered for a debate in the House of Commons.
‘The fallout could be much worse than people thought’
●● Calls are growing for a second referendum on EU membership after the shock Leave vote
●● Coun Lesley Smetham is among the people who have signed the petition