EU Referendum Public Meeting – Chichester

The Assembly Rooms in Chichester greeted over 100 guests last night for an evening of Brexit related talks followed by an extensive question and answer session.

The experienced panel consisted of our Chairman, Andrew Moncreiff; Ray Finch MEP; and John Petley of the CIB. They were later joined by James Newhall of GO.

A Chichester-based Brexit alliance has recently formed working mainly under the Grassroots Out banneror GO for short. GO is made up of politicians and supporters from across the political spectrum, with a single aim: to get the United Kingdom out of the European Union.

Ray Finch MEP

The public in the Chichester area have been particularly keen to get to the facts and last night was an excellent opportunity to satisfy this interest.

Ray Finch debunked the myth about our supposed influence in the EU. We are, in fact, the most out-voted nation within the EU, being voted against 72 times.

“If we are at the top table, then we are the waiters pouring the gravy”

Ray Finch MEP

Ray Finch countered the misbelief that Brexiteers are anti-European, eloquently stating “We are the true Europeans. We are the ones that love France, Greece, Portugal, Spain, Sweden & Denmark. We love them because they are those countries. He added “They have their own languages, cultures, and cuisines. We don’t want them subsumed in to some homogenous mush. We know that Europe is a continent. Europe is 51 nations, not 28 regions in a bureaucratic wasteland cringing under the flat feet of unelected bureaucrats”.

John Petley

John Petley kicked off by criticising the recent Government leaflet for not demonstrating any real objective. He stated the real objective is a federal Europe, where our “national democracy is progressively hollowed out from within”.

John Petley summarised that the recent Government leaflet is deficient in three key areas:

  • “It lists things that are supposedly good for us, that are not, such as the European Arrest Warrant.” The EAW has resulted in British citizens being at the wrong-end of inferior justice systems, citing the cases of Andrew Symeou and Edmond Arapi where gross miscarriages of justice occurred.
  • “It simply contains untrue statements”, like the UK has secured a special status in a reformed EU. There is no legal backing to anything Cameron had agreed.
  • “It sells us benefits of the EU that we could actually get outside of the EU.” In particular the trade aspects. He stated that we could get these benefits just by joining EFTA like Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway, & Switzerland.

“We are talking about a new relationship with Europe based on co-operation, and not subordination… This referendum is our chance to reboot British democracy
John Petley CIB


  • There was some confusion over the cost of EU membership, and the gross versus net values, that was clarified by the panel. The gross payment is £350 million per week, the net cost is £160 million per week. Note, that the grants we receive back (of our own money) are to be spent according to EU rules, not our own.
  • A recurrent theme was the role of young people in the EU Referendum and politics in general. There were some great contributions from young people in the audience, which were whole-heartedly welcomed. Please contact us if you wish to get involved regardless of your age.
  • An audience member asked what would happen to the EU residents within the UK post-Brexit. The panel were unanimous that existing residents rights should be respected and deportation was not an option.

Grassroots Out campaigning

James Newhall of GO also gave a brief talk on the upcoming campaign strategy and how GO plans to work closely with Vote Leave, the designated Brexit campaign team, although they will focus on slightly different approaches to provide the maximum impact.

Grassroots Out are still 100% dedicated to fighting the Brexit campaign on the streets and are looking to compliment Vote Leave to achieve this end. Vote Leave will achieve the big-ticket items like TV Advertising, but GO are committed to the canvassing, leaflets, and grassroots style campaigning. In particular they have planned a 96 hour campaign commencing on the 7th May.

Closing statements

In closing Andrew Moncreiff quoted Churchill in the following statement, which has never been as apt as it will be on June 23rd.

Winston Churchill quotation

Thanks to all who attended and supported this event for making this evening a huge success.

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