The Harrogate Advertiser has been asked to clarify the Harrogate Lib Dems' position on the 'Stop Brexit Betrayal' mass rally due to take place in the town next month featuring ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
We reported earlier that they had denounced the rally but we have been asked by the Lib Dem's prospective parliamentary candidate for Harrogate and Knaresborough Judith Rogerson to point that they would never deny the right to hold such a rally and, contrary to our report, were not slamming the rally.
We are happy to publish the Lib Dem PPC's views below in full on the controversy.
Harrogate and Knaresborough Lib Dem's prospective parliamentary candidate Judith Rogerson said:
"Freedom of speech is a fundamental principle to me as a Liberal Democrat who believes in upholding liberal values. No matter how strongly I disagree with their views, I would never deny anyone the right to lawfully protest or hold a rally. At the same time I firmly believe that leaving the EU is not the right way forward for our country.
"I have spoken with so many residents in Harrogate & Knaresborough who are deeply disappointed that our MP Andrew Jones is putting his own party’s interests ahead of those of his constituents by supporting the Government's plans for Brexit that will be so harmful to our region. We were particularly dismayed to see him standing alongside Brexiteer Jacob Rees-Mogg in Harrogate last week.
"Every day it becomes clearer that the Brexit we are going to get bears no resemblance to the Brexit we were promised by the Leave campaign. A fundamental part of being a democracy is the ability to change our minds. As the damaging reality of Brexit becomes more obvious, the only fair and democratic way forward is to allow the people to have a rethink and vote on whether the deal that is agreed with the EU is what we really want for our country."
That’s why on October 20 our local Lib Dem members will be joining tens of thousands of others marching for a People’s Vote to have a final say on whether we accept the Government’s deal."
The ‘Stop Brexit Betrayal’ arena tour will kick off tomorow, Saturday at University of Bolton Stadium this Saturday before heading for Birmingham, Torquay, Bournemouth, Gatehead and then onto Harrogate Convention Centre on Saturday, October 20.
Leave Mean Leave's media spokesperson Alexandra Phillips said Harrogate had been chosen as a venue because Yorkshire as a whole had voted to Leave the EU and Harrogate had great facilities.
"Harrogate was actually one of the few places in Yorkshire that voted to Remain. People who backed Brexit and those who didn't are both getting increasingly tired of seeing their democratic decision diluted as the Government continues to fudge negotiations.
"What is important is letting people know that 'no deal' is in fact 'no problem'. It is a great deal!
"We would revert to using the terms of a world trade deal like most nations and be able to strike partnerships around the globe.
"We believe we need to reach out to those who supported Brexit, and also those who didn't, to give the public real information on what is going on and the best way forward for Britain.
"We are looking forward to coming to beautiful Harrogate, steeped in history, to lay out plans for Britain's bright future."
Earlier in the week Harrogate and Knaresborough MP Andrew Jones told the Harrogate Advertiser he had had no knowledge of the rally in Harrogate until he read news of it on this newspaper’s website.
He said: “The Government is implementing the mandate of the British people expressed in the referendum in 2016 so there is no need to ‘Save Brexit’. It was part of our manifesto at the 2017 election.
“I do, however, welcome very much organisations bringing their investment to the Harrogate district because of its world-class conference and exhibition facilities.
"It’s a good choice that they have made.”
Last Friday saw a visit by Jacob Mr Rees-Mogg who set the cat among the pigeons when Harrogate Labour Party members attending a talk by Richard Corbett MEP, spotted the leading Brexiteer and invited him in for a debate, which he reportedly declined.
Rees-Mogg, who also met up with Andrew Jones MP, was in Harrogate for a long-standing constituency fund-raiser at a Harrogate Grammar School. The An Evening with….’ style event saw local Conservative Party members and friends invited to ask questions of Mr Rees-Mogg.
The result in the Harrogate district in the 2016 Brexit referendum was: 51% voting to remain (48,211) and 49% (46,374) voting to leave from a total of 94,653 votes cast.
The Yorkshire and Humber result was: 58 per cent to 42 per cent in favour of Brexit. A total of 1,580,937 people were for leave and 1,158,937 for remain from more than 2.5 million votes cast.
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