WITH the burning issue of whether Britain should stay in or leave the European Union at the forefront of the nation’s mind, the debate is hotting up in Woking.
One Knaphill father of two is currently blazing a trail, urging residents to opt ‘out’ of the politico-economic agreement.
Matt Davies will officially launch the Leave.eu campaign on Saturday 20 February.
Group Leader Matt (below), who is 42 and lives in the village with his wife Clare and their children – two-year-old Olivia and Jacob, two months – told the News & Mail: “I have been involved in a number of pro-democracy groups over the years and became interested in the issue of us regaining our sovereignty back in 2003.
“For me, this referendum is about returning to a free, democratic and self-governing nation once more – not continuing down the path to a ‘United States of Europe’, with unelected leaders and the loss of our British (along with the other European nations’) identity.”
Leave.eu is one of two standout cross-party groups crusading for Britain to pull out of Europe; the other being Vote Leave.
Although both are ‘non party political’, and are ultimately canvassing for the same eventuality, they each affiliate to a different set of priorities.
And once PM David Cameron’s renegotiation with the EU is presented, it will be up to the independent Electoral Commission to decide which of the two groups will be designated the official national ‘Leave’ campaign for the referendum, likely to take place in June but yet to be announced.
Meanwhile, last month Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East, Catherine Bearder, Sir Graham Watson and Baroness Kate Parminter launched their EU referendum campaign to stay in Europe. Mrs Bearder said: “Lib Dems are united in making the passionate, positive case for why Britain is better off inside the European Union.
“The South East benefits hugely as we export more goods to Europe than any other region, and many companies choose to invest here because we are part of the single market.
“From funding for research to cross-border police co-operation that helps bring criminals to justice, it is clear we are safer and more prosperous in the EU. By staying in Europe we can secure opportunities for our children and grandchildren, defend our future prosperity and protect the environment.”
The Britain Stronger in Europe group (formally The In Campaign Ltd www.strongerin.co.uk) has also been ardently lobbying to remain in the Union.
However Matt, who works in IT and manages a group of networking consultants, thinks otherwise and will be manning his Leave.eu stall between 10am and 3pm at the former bandstand area in Woking town centre – on 20 February. He will deliver his launch speech at 12pm, and be joined by fellow members throughout the day who will be helping drum up support.
Matt added: “We are an open campaign that doesn’t affiliate to any political party.
“We welcome anyone who shares the views of democracy and sovereignty for this proud country.”
Visit leave.eu and search ‘Woking’ to find out more.