EU Referendum: Vote Leave throw down the gauntlet to Remain Campaign

Politics / Tue 14th Jun 2016 am30 10:38am

An open letter from the Vote Leave Campaign in Harlow

TODAY the Harlow Vote Leave Campaign issue an open letter to Cllr Joel Charles, Leader of the Harlow In & Harlow Conservatives IN to engage with us and offer the people of Harlow a town debate on the future of the European Union.

Vote Leave, individual parties and even the local media have worked exhaustively for more than a month to try and secure a Town debate with a wide variety of voices to give their view to the people of Harlow. Despite public and personal proclamations from Cllr Charles that he wanted debates, simultaneously he was trying to coerce UKIP into a one on one debate whilst dodging a multi-platform debate.

The Harlow Vote Leave campaign have maintained the very best of relations with all parties in the town, despite our obvious political differences. The people of Harlow have a right to expect their political representatives to behave in a fair, honest and frankly mature manner.

We are now less than ten days away from the Referendum. The time has come for Cllr Charles to put up – or shut up.

Harlow Vote Leave announce today we have joined with Harlow Labour In, Harlow Liberal Democrats In, Harlow UKIP, Harlow Conservatives (Leave) and Harlow Independents (Leave), all of whom have all agreed to attend a debate on the evening of 21st June 2016 at 7.30pm @ St Paul’s Church Hall in Harlow Town Centre.

We now invite the Harlow IN Leader, Cllr Charles to attend and represent his views. Alternatively if he cannot attend, then perhaps his good friend and newly converted Europhile Robert Halfon MP could substitute for him?

Though he applied for and was appointed the Leader of Harlow In, Cllr Charles has been largely absent from the campaign in Harlow despite managing to spend time campaigning in Chelmsford, London other parts of Essex. He even managed to agree to take part in a public debate this week in Epping, yet he denies the people of Harlow (some of whom elected him) an opportunity to have their say. 
He may have given up on Harlow but we have not.

Enough is enough. The time is now. The people of Harlow want better than that. The people of Harlow demand better than that. The people of Harlow deserve better than that.

Whether he turns up or not the debate will go ahead and we will empty chair Cllr Charles and invite a substitute from someone else from one of the Remain Campaigns.

All other parties have agreed to send a representative and we thank them, despite our political differences, for playing with a straight bat, being open and honest and putting the people of Harlow first. We hope at this late stage Cllr Charles will agree to join us at the debate on the 21st, so his residents also have an opportunity to hear from him and question him.

Please see below the full text of the Open Letter sent today to Cllr Joel Charles from the Vote Leave Deputy Campaign Manager, John Paul Goddard.

Dear Joel,

As you know, when I was appointed Deputy Campaign Manager for Harlow Vote Leave, my first priority was to organise debates between our campaigns. This was communicated to you the first time more than a month ago by the Leader of the Harlow Vote Leave Campaign and he has spoken on a number of occasions to you since.

It is odd then, that at the same time as agreeing to debates with us, you tried instead in a dishonest, disrespectful and incompetent manner to firstly try and organise your own debate with only yourself and UKIP, even booking a venue and being forced to cancel, and subsequently told others including the Liberal Democrats that ‘no-one had ever spoken to you about debates’.

You know that simply is not true. You have frustrated the process at every available opportunity and we have all now lost patience. We understand you are scared to debate us, but less than ten days away from the most important decision any of us will take in our lifetimes we have lost patience. You may well be inclined to deny the residents of Harlow their democratic right to an airing of the views on both sides of the argument, but we are not.

We at Vote Leave now join with Harlow Labour IN, Harlow Liberal Democrats IN, UKIP, Harlow Conservatives (Leave) and Independents to ask you to abandon your childish, divisive games and instead join with us and engage in mature politics that best befits the spirit and community of Harlow. The people of Harlow want better than that. The people of Harlow demand better than that. The people of Harlow deserve better than that.
The debate takes place at St Paul’s Church, Harlow Town Centre on Tuesday 21st June at 7.30 pm. We would be delighted if you were to attend and give your residents an opportunity to question you and hear your opinions along with each of ours.

This town has always been best when people work together despite political differences. Even with all that has occurred it is not too late and in the interest of free, fair and grown up politics – we invite you to abandon your destructive course and truly live up to the name of a Harlow District Councillor.

Please inform me of your decision personally by 5pm Friday 17th June as if you cannot attend we shall empty chair you and offer your space to another local voice for remain. Perhaps if you could not attend you might like to ask your good friend and Europhile, Robert Halfon MP to speak on your behalf of the benefits of remaining in the European Union.

The choice is entirely now in your own hands.

JP Goddard

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3 Comments for EU Referendum: Vote Leave throw down the gauntlet to Remain Campaign:

tony durcan
2016-06-14 14:30:16

I'm somewhat surprised and disappointed with the negative tone and personal insults attached to this letter.I really thought we had left all this nasty attiude behind long ago. It's not for me to comment about the relationship challenges in the local Tory group but not unless we have far more grown up and mature attitude I'm not sure having any type of debate would provide any value to the discussion. I would have welcomed a debate but due to the toxic comments made by the OUT camp sadly I will decline the invite. I would prefer to speak directly to local residence about their concerns than take part in such a huff and puff session between rival Tories.whilst I'm sure Joel Charles can answer for himself I'm concerned that the Harlow Tory party have decided by on this type of open and hostile action. So thank you but no thanks.i would urge any sensible person to boycott and decline this invite

Rod Truan
2016-06-14 14:50:03

There may well be sensible and constructive arguments on both the leave and remain campaigns that can be debated but to issue such a letter is not helpful to civilised debate. This referendum is too important (whichever way we go) to personalise matters.

2016-06-14 15:30:50

After yesterday’s gold standard ICM online and phone polls showing a robust Leave lead, TNS have released new figures showing 47% for Out and 40% for In. This means Leave are now ahead seven points – higher than any poll since YouGov’s nine point lead for Out in February. hat tip to order-order.com, come on lets keep working on this and get that lead higher and have a debate and forget mudslinging as we saw how that went after Eagle and Izzerd screwed it up.

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