The area’s two Conservative Members of Parliament are divided on whether the UK should remain in the European Union, with South East Cambs MP Lucy Frazer in the Remain camp and North East Cambs MP Steve Barclay supporting a Brexit.
With two days to go until Britons take to the poll to vote on the EU referendum, the result of “the most important vote in our country for a generation” is expected to be very close, Mr Barclay says.
Posting on his Facebook page yesterday, the March based MP said: “It is crucial to our democracy that we give the British people back control from Brussels. We should not continue to let unelected EU officials undermine controls at our borders or determine our laws. Nor should European judges stop us from deporting criminals and terrorists, or weaken our national security.
“With the fifth largest economy in the world, the UK can thrive outside the EU and enter new trade deals with global partners. As the successful businessman Sir James Dyson has said, the idea that we cannot prosper as a sovereign country is cobblers.”
Mr Barclay has accused the Remain campaign of using “endless scaremongering”, adding that Britons should have “confidence” in their country.
“And we need to guard against future risks from the EU – such as more bailouts to euro countries, the out of control migrant crises, and countries like Turkey, Serbia and Albania joining the EU in the future adding yet more pressure to our GP surgeries, school places, and demand for housing.”
Retired farmer and former Conservative County and District Councillor Geoffrey Woollard, who stood as an Independent in the Independent for South East Cambs in the 2010 General Election, has a very different take.
Mr Woollard says: “My preference is for the resurrection of the British Empire. It won’t happen. Absent it happening, my reasons for supporting Britain remaining in the European Union are historical, political and cultural.
“Historically, Britain and its Empire steered clear of some European conflicts but we English were at war with the Spanish in the sixteenth century and with the Scots and the Dutch in the seventeenth century. We British warred with the French in the eighteenth century and we became involved in the Napoleonic Wars in part because the then British establishment was terrified of the French Republic and then the French Empire under Napoleon.
“Excepting the Crimean War, Britain avoided most later nineteenth century European conflicts (though the Palmerston Forts were built in the 1860s for fear of France’s Napoleon III) but European powers fought amongst themselves and Prussia/Germany under Bismarck wrought havoc in, successively, Denmark, Austria and France. Much blood and treasure was lost and it is arguable that the world would have been a better place had Otto von Bismarck never lived, for the German Empire, France and Russia came to blows again in 1914.
“The so-called ‘Great War’ could have been avoided and Britain’s involvement in it should have been avoided. Much more blood and treasure was lost by all of the parties and the war ruined the British Empire. It also ruined France and it wrecked Germany and Austria.
“The wrecking of Germany and Austria and the Communist revolution in Russia led to the rise of Nazism. Had the politicians of the 1920s and 1930s seen what was coming they and we might have avoided the ultimate in European conflicts, the second World War.
“Many Europeans after that war were more far-sighted than their predecessors and resolved that such ruination should never again be visited upon Europeans. They formed what was to become a union of nation states, a union of states and peoples that had hitherto fought amongst themselves and against each other for centuries. Those then in the union wanted Britain as part of their union.”
Britain would always be a “European nation”, Mr Woollard said.
“Geographically, Britain is European: we are not American nor African nor Asian. Religiously, we are European: we are not Hindu nor Muslim: we are an integral part of what used to be called Christendom.
Politically, we are European: we believe in democracy and the rule of law: we are intolerant of tyrannies. Some of our European partners are republics. We have a constitutional monarchy answerable to Parliament.”
Culturally we are also European, the former farmer added.
“We identify with Athens, with Rome, with Berlin, with Paris, with Vienna, with the old Hanseatic ports, even with St. Petersburg: our horizons may include Calcutta, Cape Town, Hong Kong, New York and Sydney, but old Europe is still our backyard and the basis of our being…
“We Europeans must stand together for, in division, European nation states are headed for further disasters. The alien enemy is at the gates again: now is not the time for further bickering over what are, essentially, trivial issues.”
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