7,000 Max­o­ni­ans call for sec­ond EU ref­er­en­dum

Macclesfield Express - - BARNABY FESTIVAL - KAREN BRITTON

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

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