Nottinghamshire voters will have their say on the EU referendum next week as the area turns out to be a cauldron of polar views in the run up to the vote.
While the majority of our politicians in the region are sticking with the Remain camp – the East Midlands has been named as the area most in favour of leaving the European Union.
- 59% in East Midlands want to Vote Leave
- 18% lead on Remain makes us the most Euro-sceptic region
- £8.7bn worth of direct exports to EU countries
- 3 million EU citizens live in the UK
- 1.2 million UK nationals live in the rest of the EU
Some 59 per cent of people who took part ina YouGov poll said they wanted out – giving them an 18-point lead, the highest in the UK.
The figures are damning for the local ‘remain’ campaigners, causing the region to be branded as the most important ‘battleground’ to re-take votes.
And as demographics reveal the older you are, the more likely to vote Leave, Mansfield MP Alan has called on young people to make sure they vote on June 23.
He said: “Every vote is important - the young people of Britain, the future is there’s and this vote is particularly important to them. They must go out and vote to remain to stay in the EU.
“If we leave Europe everything will be thrown in the air and i believe it will be catastrophic for Britain. I ask them to not stand idly by and allow other people to make their decision for them. They must turn out for the vote"
But he disputed that the polling data showed the reality in the region.
Mr Meale added: “There is a rump of people that are pro-leaving the EU, there’s been hard support for that platform, but it still only represents a minority of people in the area.
"So these polls are an estimate, but I think the actual vote will be different.
“But I fear there will be a low turnout on June 23, and this could tip the balance, so I call on all people - young and old, man and woman, to stop this nonsense.”
Regional MEP Roger Helmer (UKIP) said: “The East Midlands is a principal battleground - parts of the East Midlands have been affected heavily as a direct result of the EU and its policies.
“The East Midlands also has many Labour heartlands and Labour has left behind its core support. Remember too, that four of the five MEPs in the East Midlands are campaigning to leave the EU.
Ashfield Councillor Jim Aspinall said the fight wasn’t lost - it just means campaigners have to work harder.
He added: “In 1975 I voted out because I thought at that stage it was just a big trade area that would do nothing for the people of this country but as the EU progressed and became a more social organisation as well as trade, with various protections for workers rights I changed my opinion. Now I’m an in-er because I don’t believe a Tory government will continue to protect those rights. It was a Tory government minister and out-er, Prity Patel, that said half of our Labour rights are going to be taken away if we leave.
“It’s the battleground where the Vote In campaign has got to fight hardest,” he added. “If the statistics have show the East Midlands is the most likely to vote out, those of us who are for
Vote Remain need to up our game to convince people.”
Ashfield MP Gloria De Piero said in response to the statistics: “I know many people in Ashfield are still making up their minds about which way to vote.
“One of the strongest reasons to stay in the EU is because 200,000 jobs in the East Midlands are directly related to exports from the UK to other EU countries and these would be at risk if we left.
“I am also passionate about protecting workers’ rights and staying in the EU means the Tory government can never get rid of paid holiday or paid maternity leave.
“I’m staying in for jobs and rights at work.”
Conservative councillor Mick Murphy said it’s people in the East Midlands who are most concerned about our EU membership.
He said: “Its the people in East Midlands that will be most affected, and who are most worried about losing their jobs, about immigration and mortgage rates.
“At the end of the day each person is going to have to make up their own minds. Both sides are talking in assumptions and because of that people aren’t getting honest information. It’s all ‘doom and gloom’, and politicians aren’t listening to voters.
“It’s neck and neck and this is going to be a hard one. The biggest thing I want is for people to just go and vote.
“For me, Europe is getting far too big and the bigger it gets the harder it is to have any control over it.”
“It’s a difficult road we’ve got to take and there will undoubtedly be issues if we leave, and it will be up to the government to sort those problems out.”
Nottinghamshire Conservative MP Mark Spencer (Sherwood) who is voting ‘Remain’ said he may not side with voters on this occasion, but every vote is personal.
He added: “I have no more say in the EU Referendum than any other person in my constituency when it comes to voting, so the question of whether my views fit with my constituents or not doesn’t really apply – we’re all entitled to our own personal view on this one. I am available for any constituent who wants to talk about this with me, or wants to hear my views, but
I’m not out to try and push people to agree with me. I hope people will engage with the process, seek out the information and come to their own educated conclusion.”
The statistics also revealed the demographics which may lead to concerns in the region, which is one of the most deprived areas of the UK with an aging population, low education and low income.
The YouGov Poll showed that age is a major factor in how people vote, with a 46 per cent lead for ‘iners’ aged 18-29, while elderly people tend to favour a Brexit.
Those with university education are more likely to vote remain (40 point lead), and those with only GCSE qualifications want to leave the EU (-36 points).
What newspaper people read and how people voted in the general election were also telling examples of how people view Europe.
What’s does the EU do for us?
Government stats claim that the East Midlands would lose £8.7bn from the local economy if we left the EU.
200,000 jobs linked to exports to the EU
9,000 jobs created or protected by European investment projects
120 European investment projects in the region
300,000 migrate here each year and long-term immigration from the EU has been rising almost parallel with immigration from outside the EU. Now the split is almost 50-50 (184,000) while in 2006 over two-thirds would have been from outside the EU.