Calls for St Albans and Harpenden MPs to resign after Brexit campaign
PUBLISHED: 12:05 30 June 2016
Eurosceptic politicians Anne Main and Peter Lilley have been challenged to quit for failing to represent their constituents in the EU referendum, after a groundswell of local support to stay in the bloc.
St Albans bucked the national trend by voting to remain in the European Union last Thursday, as 62.7 per cent said they wanted to stay, with a turnout of 82.4 per cent - one of the strongest turnouts in the country. North Herts was the only other electorate in Hertfordshire to vote for remain.
However, Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, and St Albans MP Anne Main campaigned hard to leave the union, saying they wanted the UK to take back control of its laws, money and borders.
Strong local support at the ballot box to remain has prompted many residents to contact the Herts Advertiser to express their ‘alarm’ at the MPs for being out of touch with their constituents.
Editor Matt Adams said: “We have been inundated with correspondence from readers wanting to know whether Mrs Main will be standing down in the wake of the referendum because her views do not reflect those of the majority of constituents. The number of emails we have received is quite unprecedented, even during the height of the MPs’ expenses scandal.”
Some locals have called upon both avowed Eurosceptics to resign their post, including David Chadwick, of St Albans, who said: “St Albans voted to remain in the EU with a large majority. As David Cameron has confirmed his resignation based on the national vote to exit which is contrary to his position, should Anne Main, who voted to exit, therefore also resign, based on the same principle as Cameron’s resignation. Her position on the EU is at odds with those she stands to represent.”
Mike Gerrard, also of St Albans, added that Anne failed to represent her constituents “on the single most important decision this country has made for years. I hope she will now accept the ‘will of people’ of St Albans and resign her post.”
Nick Boggon, of St Ippolytes, called upon Peter to “step aside and allow us to have an MP who really represents us. An MP’s job is to represent their constituents. It is clear that on this most important of issues, which will have huge and irreversible consequences for the UK, your view is not in line with the majority of the people you represent.”
However both policitians have welcomed the result of the referendum and have refused to bow to demands to quit their posts.
Peter said he was, “proud that the British people have had the wisdom, courage and self-confidence to take back control”.
His two main hopes now are for negotiations for free trade agreements with markets in Asia, South America, Africa and Australasia to begin as soon as possible, and that the government moves “speedily to incorporate existing EU laws and regulations into UK law, so that local businesses can continue as at present.
“There have been suggestions that MPs in seats where a majority of voters voted to remain should try to block leaving the EU.
“In the referendum, everyone’s vote counted alike. Parliament voted overwhelmingly to have a referendum on Britain’s EU membership on the clear understanding that, whatever the outcome, Parliament would implement it.”
Peter said that while he knew many of his constituents did not vote to leave the EU, “in my judgement the best future for the UK lies outside of the EU, though cooperating with our European neighbours”.
Anne said she was not surprised at the local vote to remain as she “was told weeks ago that we were the ninth most pro-European constituency”.
The politician said she campaigned - and voted - for what she believed was in the best interests of the country, adding, “I had one vote, and I was not elected to stand on a mandate to remain – because my Eurosceptism has been very well known.”
Anne said that although she had also received emails calling on her to resign, she had no intention of doing so.
She and Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden, whose constituency voted to leave, are both backing Boris Johnson to be the next Prime Minister.