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Comment on EU referendum result
The people of the United Kingdom have voted to leave the European Union. Here in Cornwall, 56.5% backed “Brexit,” while the people of Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to stay in the EU.
It is well-documented that I backed the “remain” campaign and I am obviously very disappointed that a majority of voters took a different stance.

But whatever our views, we are fortunate to live in a modern democracy and, as the Prime Minister quite rightly said in this resignation speech, the will of the British people must “be respected" and “it is an instruction that must be delivered.”

We are, though, entering a period of great economic and political uncertainty, particularly around the complex negotiations for secession and what this will mean for the United Kingdom and what it will mean for ordinary people.

David Cameron has pledged that, from this point forward, the Government will ensure that the “interests of all parts of our United Kingdom are protected and advanced,” and this will involve the “full engagement of the Scottish, Welsh and Northern Ireland governments.”

Yet the First Minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, has already announced plans for a second referendum on Scottish independence, while leading nationalist politicians in Northern Ireland have started to push for a referendum on a united Ireland.

As the leader of MK, I am particularly concerned about how “Brexit” will impact on Cornwall which, I think it is fair to say, is never one of the Government’s top priorities.

We all know that Cornwall is one of the poorest parts of the UK and suffers from under-investment from central government, and has been an area which, for a number of years, has been a beneficiary of EU structural funding.

But we have not heard much from the leadership of the Leave campaign about how Cornwall’s best interests will be safeguarded.

John Pollard, the leader of Cornwall Council, has already confirmed that he will be making representations to demand that the “UK Government protects Cornwall’s position in any negotiations,” and that our communities receive “investment equal to that provided” by present EU programmes.

Such concerns have made the London newspapers, though there has been a somewhat sarcastic edge to the coverage with headlines such as “Cornwall votes for Brexit and then pleads to keep EU funding …”

It is my view that the people of Cornwall have a massive job to do in the coming weeks and months. We must, as far as possible, be united and we must do everything we can to pressure Westminster politicians to stand up for Cornwall and its communities as they works through the implications of leaving the EU.
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Published on 27th June 2016.

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