Perthshire MPs face off in Brexit de­bate

Perthshire Advertiser - - THE TICKET - Ross Gar­diner

More than 100 peo­ple at­tempted to get to the heart of the is­sues over Brexit at a de­bate in Perth last Thurs­day.

And field­ing the ques­tions on the im­pact here and across Scot­land were Perthshire’s two MPs.

The de­bate, ar­ranged by Perth4Europe saw Pete Wishart MP and Luke Graham MP go head to head at Perth Mu­seum and Art Gallery’s lec­ture theatre.

The match up, which re­mained good na­tured, saw Scot­land’s long­est serv­ing MP face off against one of its new­est ones.

The de­bate was chaired by Rachel Weiss of Perth’s Rowan Con­sul­tancy.

Perth and North Perthshire and SNP rep­re­sen­ta­tive Pete Wishart MP is an out­spo­ken ad­vo­cate of re­main­ing in the EU, and made this clear in his open­ing state­ment.

He said: “I’ll put this as del­i­cately as I can, Brexit is frankly self-harm, and im­mi­gra­tion is the cold beat­ing heart of the mat­ter.

“We are head­ing for the hard­est of hard Brex­its, and it will leave ev­ery­one sig­nif­i­cantly worse off.

“The ne­go­ti­a­tions are be­ing pros­e­cuted with over­whelm­ing clue­less­ness, and with Boris John­son, Liam Fox and David Davis, it is like leav­ing the clowns in charge of the cir­cus.”

Ochil and South Perthshire’s Luke Graham fol­lowed up by ex­plain­ing that de­spite vot­ing Re­main, he was work­ing hard to make sure Scot­land gets the best deal.

He said: “I was gut­ted that we lost. I was also dis­ap­pointed that there was so much low qual­ity de­bate, and to see many peo­ple not play­ing their part.

“Brexit is the big­gest is­sue we are fac­ing. Since be­ing elected, I’ve been the fifth most ac­tive MP ask­ing ques­tions of the govern­ment, and I in­tend on con­tin­u­ing that.”

Rights of EU na­tion­als, food and drinks pro­tec­tion and re­la­tion­ships with other coun­tries were hot on the agenda.

While both MPs had dif­fer­ing views on Brexit, they were united by their de­sire to see more public en­gage­ment in Brexit ne­go­ti­at­ing.

Luke said: “I’m plan­ning on hav­ing com­mu­nity meet­ings every quar­ter. It’s es­sen­tial to do so, and it’s our re­spon­si­bil­ity as MPs to be hon­est and frank.”

Pete said: “It was an amaz­ing

Rachel Weiss with Pete Wishart MP (left) and Luke Graham MP (right) de­bate with a fan­tas­tic turnout. The and we’re re­ally pleased with how level of en­ergy re­flected the seis­mic the de­bate went - and it stayed fairly im­por­tance of the sub­ject, which is good na­tured.” re­ally en­cour­ag­ing.” Perth4Europe’s next event is a talk

Su­san­nah Rae, Con­venor of ti­tled “Exit from Brexit” by Lib­eral Perth4Europe, was pleased to see so Demo­crat leader Vince Ca­ble, on many peo­ple get in­volved. Satur­day, Septem­ber 9, and tick­ets

She said: “It was a great turnout are £3.


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