Douglas Carswell, the Member of Parliament for Clacton, was the first elected member of the UK Independence Party, in a by-election triggered by his high-profile defection from the Conservative Party in 2014. He said, “If there was a single word I would use to explain why I think we should leave the EU, it is ‘obsolete’. The EU is obsolete.
“When we joined what was to become the EU, it was sold to us as an economic proposition. Yes, they said, we might lose a bit of self-government, but it would make us more prosperous. Look across the channel today: who now seriously believes that?”
The EU Referendum on 23 June is just over a month away and many small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) owners are still unclear on how leaving or staying in the EU will affect their businesses and themselves.
For this reason, the UK200Group, the UK’s leading membership association of quality-assured independent chartered accountancy and law firms, has uploaded a film of its high-profile Campaign for Clarity debate at Coventry University London Campus to YouTube in order to clarify the arguments of both Remain and Leave camps.
Collectively, the UK200Group’s members support over 150,000 SMEs, many of whom are asking their accountants and lawyers how a ‘Remain’ or ‘Leave’ vote will affect their businesses. These questions were posed to the panel at the debate.
The fiery debate was chaired by futurologist and author Dr James Bellini, who spent 25 years in the broadcasting industry presenting programmes such as The Money Programme, Newsnight and Panorama, and as a studio presenter with Financial Times Television and Sky News.
Douglas Carswell was joined by David Davis MP on the Leave side, and they faced Yvette Cooper MP and Lucy Thomas of Britain Stronger in Europe.
James Abbott, President of the UK200Group, said: “It is the insight and the strength of our members’ relationship with their clients that led to this Campaign for Clarity, a campaign that raises awareness of the views, opinions and needs of SME businesses to enable them to make an informed decision on 23 June.
“This is the political decision of a generation, so we want to ensure that even if people missed the debate they can catch up on it on our YouTube channel.
“We’ve also passed 30 key questions affecting SMEs to both sides of the referendum, and we’re looking forward to working with both Remain and Leave campaigns to publish their responses.”
The UK200Group, which was established in 1986, represents a group of trusted, quality-assured business advisers – accountants and lawyers – who have over 150,000 SME clients in total. As such, the UK200Group acts as the voice for 1,500 charities, over 10% of all registered academies, more than 3,700 farms, 800 healthcare businesses and over 500 property and construction professionals.