Is Kettering's attitude to Brexit shifting?

Liberal Democrats say a survey suggests Kettering's attitude to Brexit is changing - but the results have been rubbished by the town's MP.

Friday, 10th August 2018, 6:00 am
Updated Saturday, 1st September 2018, 9:21 am
Sabir Jones (left) with Cllr Dutton.

Cllr Andrew Dutton, the sole Liberal Democrat on Kettering Council, took to the streets with other party members to ask people their views.

People were asked to vote in a ‘mood box’ in Kettering’s High Street with the results suggesting a worried view of the Brexit process.

Brexit Debate: Kettering: Ss Peter & Paul Church, Kettering host a debate about Brexit. MP for Kettering Philip Hollobone with Rev David Walsh ( rector) and Lord Andrew Adonis Friday, June 22, 2018 NNL-180626-092446005

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Of the 99 who took part, 19 were said they were optimistic about Brexit and 80 said they were pessmistic.

When asked whether there should be a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal, 69 said yes and 29 said no.

Cllr Dutton said: “Our mood box was primarily a way of getting people, Leavers and Remainers, to talk about how they feel about Brexit at the present time.

“This is in no way a scientific survey. I suspect many Leavers refused to talk to us.

“However, some of the pessimists were Leavers who wanted a no deal/no more cash to the EU Brexit and some of those who wanted a final vote were Leavers who didn’t like the Chequers compromise.

“Nevertheless, I was surprised how many wanted a second vote and want an Exit from Brexit.”

But ardent Tory Brexiteer Philip Hollobone, Kettering’s MP, said the Liberal Democrats are out of touch with local people.

He said: “The Liberal Democrats are anti-Brexit.

“Their MPs in the House of Commons have been doing all they can to stop Brexit and to keep us in the EU.

“Now local Liberal Democrats are following their lead.

“This is a tiny and wholly unrepresentative survey of local public opinion.

“In the 2016 referendum 61 per cent of Kettering residents on a massive 78 per cent turnout voted to leave the EU.

“As the local MP I regard this as an instruction to me to vote in the House of Commons to bring Brexit about.

“The vast majority of local people, whether they voted Leave or Remain, now simply want the Government to get on with it and to ensure a smooth and clean Brexit as soon as possible.

“Once again local Liberal Democrats are demonstrating that they are completely out of touch with local people’s views.”

Kettering Liberal Democrat team member Sabir Jones disagreed.

He said: “Several people said they normally voted Labour and wanted the opposition in Parliament to stand up much more strongly against a bad Brexit, or better still oppose it completely.

“On the other hand, many ardent Leave voters expressed disillusion with the shambolic Government handling of Brexit.

“Several EU citizens who are residents and working in Kettering also called by and thanked us for giving everyone in town a chance to talk about the issues.”

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