Last Monday, 16 December, we crowded into a corner of the Red Lion in Avebury and hung some souvenir flags and memorabilia. The remain candidates joined us, we stared disconsolately into our drinks, passed round the crisps, scribbled down some wishes for 2020 and shared our fragile feelings.
It felt like a wake but like all good wakes we celebrated our group’s existence, recognised that life goes on and wanted to stick together. How we continue will need to be agreed on 5th February when we have had time to digest the results: the ruling Tories only won 46% of the vote. Had this vote been for a referendum, we would have won.
So, our first action was to introduce ourselves to the newly elected Daniel Kruger to share our anxieties and express our willingness to play our part in bringing the community together. Here is the final text of what we sent Mr Kruger.
Dear Mr Kruger,
I am writing on behalf of our non-partisan group to congratulate you on becoming our MP and to ask for your comments on issues of great importance to us.
Devizes for EU is made up of people of all party political persuasions and none. One of our objectives is safeguarding the benefits, especially for individual citizens, of being part of the EU. Another was the UK’s continued membership of the EU.
We recognise that the outcome of the recent general election means that the UK will leave the EU. Now we need to heal the divisions that have been caused by three years of wrangling. We were reassured by your acceptance speech last week that you will work to bring our community and our country together again after Brexit and hope that you will allow us to cooperate with you to achieve this outcome in the Devizes constituency.
Our members met on Monday for the first time since the election. They made it clear that there are three areas of critical importance to them:
- The rights and protections of EU citizens settled in the UK and, conversely, of UK citizens settled in or visiting the EU
- The future of rights and benefits we currently enjoy as EU citizens such as food standards, educational exchanges, and health protection when travelling
- The prospects for the UK’s efforts to prevent further global temperature increases, in particular over the next 18 months, which scientists warn are critical to avoid reaching irreversible levels, given that hitherto these efforts have been made as a member state of the EU.
We would very much appreciate your thoughts on all three, even at this very early stage.
With best wishes
Chair, Devizes for EU