Please note: This site covers the period that I was a Member of Parliament from May 2010 to June 2017.
The Bill to trigger Article 50 and start the UK’s withdrawal from the EU is currently being debated in Parliament. On Tuesday, Bedford MP, Richard Fuller spoke in the debate, outlining his views about Brexit.
The diversity of residents in Bedford and Kempston is a unique and powerful asset. Children in our schools get to meet other children whose parents come from every part of the world. Such an early exposure must surely help them prepare for a world – of work, travel, study and culture – that is getting ever smaller.
In the EU referendum, the country decided 52:48 to leave the European Union and the role of migration figured strongly in the debate. In the reaction to the result, some people have used the vote to leave as an excuse to act or speak in ways that reflect bigotry or prejudice. Others have sought to claim that those who voted to leave are somehow racist or are collectively responsible for racist acts.
Let me be clear: any action by anyone who seeks to foment discrimination must be opposed vigorously. There is no excuse, no justification ever for prejudice. The referendum result is not a signal of support for hate crimes, nor should the 17 million people who voted to leave the EU be judged any differently than the 16 million who voted to remain. We need unity against racism.
As your Member of Parliament and as a supporter of Leave, my job now is to speak for the 100%, not the 52% or 48% of the people of Bedford and Kempston. Nationally that means moving forward to implement the referendum decision in the best long term interests of our country. Locally it means unifying both sides, opposing those who would divide us and challenging anyone who would make any of our residents feel unwelcome.
Our country is a beacon of freedom in a world where so many people yearn for freedom. We are a generous country and one that has a strong sense of fair play. We have taken back control so we can embrace these values of openness – on our own terms and how we know best. Let us all reflect that spirit of openness and generosity in our daily lives as well and let this generation of Bedfordians proudly carry forward our heritage of tolerance and peace.
Over the last few weeks, Richard has taken part in a number of EU Referendum debates and discussions around the constituency. Richard will be voting to LEAVE the EU on Thursday and urges his constituents to “vote with confidence, don’t vote out of fear”.
Richard’s views on the EU Referendum can be found here.
One of the debates Richard took part in was opened up to hundreds of local businesses at Bedford Blues Rugby Club, hosted by MacIntyre Hudson. Richard spoke for Leave and Richard Howitt MEP for Remain and the scene was set by Professor of Global Economy at Cranfield University, Joe Nellis. Both speakers made opening statements before questions were taken from the floor and from twitter submissions.
The audience was issued with voting pads so that polls could be taken at various points during the evening. The opening poll showed that 46% would vote to remain, 28% would vote to leave and 26% were undecided. After an hour of lively debate and passionate closing statements, the final result stood at 49% leave, 45% remain and 6% undecided.
The opening statement which Richard gave to the audience can be watched below:
The full debate, filmed by Bedford College Media Department can be watched here.
Richard added: “A Vote to Leave the European Union and get back control is the best gift we can pass on to the next generation”.
The Prime Minister has suggested that Members of Parliament should speak from their hearts about their views on the upcoming referendum so I wanted to share with you my thoughts.
Shaped by my life experience and by my home town of Bedford, my heart, and my head, tell me that our future is better and more secure if we vote to leave the EU when the referendum is called because:
- We will trade with a renewed ferocity in the growing markets of the world
- Our democratic future will be stronger
- We will be able to draw on all the world’s talents equally and without prejudice.
Bedford MP Richard Fuller celebrated the success of a local business during a visit to Kempston-based Newnorth Print Ltd this week. He brought leading Euro MP, Vicky Ford, to meet employees and hear how the company has invested and grown the business.
Newnorth Print was founded in 1971 and offers smart e-commerce printing solutions as well as traditional printing and merchandise products.
Richard and Vicky toured the facilities in Kempston and heard about the barriers to trade that small and medium sized businesses face when trading in the single market.
During the tour of the company’s facilities, the MP and MEP saw the new printing equipment in which the company has recently invested over £2 million.
Richard Fuller MP commented “It’s great to see this local business growing and investing in new technology. Supporting small businesses is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, creating more jobs and increasing the country’s economic security.”
Vicky Ford added “Small and medium sized companies are the backbone of our economy and it’s good to see small firms like Newnorth Print taking advantage of the stronger economy to invest and grow. The printing sector has seen rapid change and companies have needed to be flexible to survive. It is important not to overload them with red tape and bureaucracy.”
As you may be aware, the Prime Minister has detailed his view of the UK’s future relationship with the EU. In short, Mr Cameron has clearly declared that the EU needs to change; that ‘ever closer union’ is not the right path; and that he will seek a better relationship for Britain.
Importantly, he will put the outcome of these negotiations to a referendum where people can decide to accept a new settlement or to leave the EU.
As I have said before, I want the British people to be given a choice over our future with the EU. To this end, I am pleased that the Prime Minister has committed to holding an ‘in/out’ referendum. As he must have time to negotiate a better position for Britain, I see the merit in deferring this until no later than the end of 2017.
I realise that some people are calling for an immediate in-out referendum, but a vote today between the status quo and leaving would be – as I said previously – a false choice. The EU is in a state of flux while the Eurozone countries work out their new relationship. For a vote to be held there must be clarity of the choice on offer.