The pros and cons of the UK in or out of the European Union (EU) will be debated at a “Question Time” style event in Spalding on Monday.
What Does The EU Mean For You? a free debate featuring a panel of six academics and political activists, takes place at South Holland Centre, Spalding, on Monday, May 23, from 5pm until 7pm.
An audience will be invited to put their questions to a panel made up of Dr Angus Armstrong of the National Institute of Economic and Social Research NIESR), Professor Catherine Barnard of Cambridge University and Professor Simon Hix of the London School of Economics.
The other panellists are Jonathan Portes, a researcher at NIESR, Dr Lee Rotherham, a former student at Spalding Grammar School who grew up in Gosberton Risegate and Moulton, and George Smid who was the Liberal Democrat Party candidate for South Holland and the Deepings at last year’s general election.
Mr Smid said: “This EU referendum might be decided on the single issue of immigration alone when more than half of the UK’s immigrant population come from non-EU countries.
“If we want to preserve our British way of life, we must be leading the EU, not leaving it.”
The debate has been organised by Dr Amy Ludlow, a former Spalding High School student from Surfleet who is now a law lecturer at Cambridge University.
Dr Ludlow said: “I understand the sentiment in some parts of the country that the EU is a bureaucratic machine over which the UK has no control.
“But what we’re trying to do is to move the debate beyond emotional, instinctive response towards factual, rational decision making.”
Dr Ludlow’s Cambridge University colleague, Professor Barnard said: “I very much welcome the opportunity to speak at the event on May 23 as we are committed to offering independent, fact-based information about the EU to help people in Lincolnshire decide which way to vote on June 23.”
We are committed to offering independent, fact-based information about the European Union to help people in Lincolnshire decide which way to vote in the crucial referendum on June 23Professor Catherine Barnard, Jean Monnet Chairman of EU Law, University of Cambridge
Mr Portes said: “The EU referendum on June 23 is one of the most important political events in my lifetime and that of most Britons.
“Therefore, it is vital that citizens are informed of the arguments on both sides.
“So I am delighted to be part of the UK in a Changing Europe programme which provides accurate, objective and unbiased analysis to inform the debate and I look forward to this event in Spalding on May 23.”
Professor Hix said: “With the campaigns to leave or remain in the EU making wild claims left, right and centre, it is often difficult to distinguish facts from hyperbole.
“With this in mind, the event on May 23 is part of a series of events organised by the UK in a Changing Europe programme which tries to bring expertise to the debate and to help clarify what really is at stake in the referendum.
“I very much welcome the opportunity to be part of these activities and to help people form their own views on these difficult issues.”