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14 June 2016

EU Referendum Debate

As part of the school's enrichment programme, Local MPs and other Parliamentary representatives gathered at Canford on Saturday 11th June for a debate on the forthcoming EU Referendum.

Pupils, staff and parents heard the passionate viewpoints from the following speakers representing the Remain and Brexit camps:

Paul Bailey, experienced local businessman and UKIP candidate for New Forest West in the 2015 general election.

Simon Hoare, Conservative MP for North Dorset.

Jamie Martin, Science Policy Adviser for Scientists in Britain and former special adviser to Michael Gove when he was Secretary of State for Education.

Tom Panton, Old Canfordian and Parliamentary Assistant to Alistair Carmichael, MP for Orkney and Shetland.

Vikki Slade, Liberal Democrat Parliamentary spokesperson for Mid Dorset and North Poole.

Desmond Swayne, Conservative MP for New Forest West, Minister of State (Department of International Development).

Each was allocated a 5 minute slot to present their cases before pupils split into discussion groups.  Informal coffee with guest speakers, parents, staff and Upper Sixth formers offered the opportunity to talk individually before a Q&A session with the full panel chaired by Head of Cultural Enrichment John James. 

The arguments presented were powerful from both sides and the final vote was very close, with Remain winning by just 7 votes.

John James commented:

“As the guests pointed out, the outcome of the European Referendum will have an enormous effect on the lives of our present students and they listened intently to the words of all our excellent speakers.  Passions ran high on both sides of the argument as they responded to the perceptive questions raised by the audience. It was inspiring to witness such a high level of debate and good to hear politicians at first hand without any media interference. A vote held at the end of the conference gave 62 votes to the Remain campaign and 55 to Brexit.  It was exciting to chair the discussion and to be able to congratulate Sir Desmond Swayne on the day he received his knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.”

For more images from the event, please click here

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