June 23, 2016
EU Referendum: Voters in Burnham-On-Sea area head to the polls

Voters will be heading to polling stations across the Burnham-On-Sea area today to cast their votes in the EU referendum.

Polls are open from 7am-10pm today for the historic election.

Final appeals have been made to residents across the Burnham-On-Sea area from both sides of the EU referendum debate.

Local representatives from the Remain and Leave camps made a last attempt to sway voters.

Burnham-On-Sea's MP, James Heappey, and former MP Tessa Munt are campaigning for the UK to remain in the EU, while Helen Hims, Burnham's former UKIP parliamentary candidate and the leader of the local Leave campaign, is pushing for voters to back the move to leave the EU.

Former MP Tessa Munt said: "I’m voting to remain in the EU on Thursday for many reasons. All my adult life I’ve been in the EU. I think Britain’s done alright over the last 40+ years, and we are still uniquely British – we’ve not lost our identity. I’d like my children and my grandchildren to enjoy their rights to study, travel, live, marry, own property, work and eventually retire in any one of 28 countries in the EU, just as my generation has."

"The UK enjoys the huge benefits of doing business with 27 other countries in Europe’s borderless market place. We have so much more clout negotiating as part of the EU team for 500million people than we would for only 65million UK customers and traders."

"We enjoy the advantage of the EU’s constant push towards safer, cleaner and healthier working and living conditions. Burnham knows about this first-hand – rising EU water quality standards are forcing our water companies to treat sewage and clean up our rivers so our beaches are safer. The EU has also given us paid holidays, rights for part-time workers, a limit to our weekly working hours, parental leave, health and safety laws and protection from discrimination."

"We pay to be part of the EU, but in this part of Somerset, we get so much more back from the ‘insurance policy’ that is the EU. In the area I represented as your MP, we paid £16,810,000 a year to be in the EU, but EU support for farmers alone topped £17,829,000 a year, besides the funding which comes to support the environment, research, wildlife, science, education, arts, heritage, nature, tourism and dozens of other Somerset projects. Almost all of that £18m is spent on buying from local businesses. Whatever happens on Thursday, big businesses will survive – they can take the heat – but imagine the impact of taking £18million away from small and medium-sized businesses in our one-fifth of Somerset."

"We’ve had 70+ years of peace and security in Europe after centuries of bloodshed. The British-inspired EU Arrest Warrant and Europol bring criminals back to face justice in British courts, and as part of the EU, we implemented sanctions against an aggressor like Russia."

"Remaining a member of the EU means we have a voice for the future, a seat at the negotiation table and a chance to make changes for the good of the UK. We must continue to push for improvements, but being ‘IN’ means we always have the option to leave at a later date. If we vote to leave the EU this week, that’s final. There’s no way back."

"I certainly don’t think the EU is perfect and would have pushed hard for more changes than those David Cameron negotiated earlier this year. Amongst other things, I’d have insisted that EU business and votes take place in either Brussels or Strasbourg – I don’t mind which - but I deeply resent the waste of taxpayers’ money moving between both several times a year. I’ve weighed up what I think is important for my family, my neighbours, my area and my country and I believe we’re better off, stronger and safer working with our partners in the EU."

Burnham's MP James Heappey told "Thursday's vote matters a lot. It will shape the direction of our country for decades to come and the choice is not straightforward."

"There will be arguments made that this is all about sovereignty. Vote to leave and we get our country back. Beyond that we'll make something up as we go along and it'll all be fine."

"But it isn't as simple as that. The world has changed since we joined the EU - the age of the nation state replaced by the age of globalisation and interconnection. People might wish it could be like it was in the 'good old days', but they're gone."

"Now our strength comes through our influence. And our influence comes from being a part of things. From being on the pitch playing the game rather than carping from the sidelines."

"So beware the siren call of sovereignty and worry about the economic abyss that awaits if we leave on Friday. I won't go so far as to say that disaster is guaranteed as the referendum campaign has already had far too much hyperbole. The truth is that we just don't know what our economic plan would be should we leave."

"For me, that's too risky. And I reject wholly the suggestion that five or ten years of pain is alright if we get our country back in the end. Tell that to the young person just starting their career, or the person saving for a mortgage. Tell it to the small business that is trying to grow or the person trying to plan for their retirement."

"The stock exchange and currency markets have recovered this week because they are betting on a remain vote. Make no mistake, if they thought the opposite outcome was coming, the pound would rapidly lose value and the stock market would lose billions. If we actually left, people suggest it would be worse than Black Wednesday."

"Who cares? It's just bankers losing money. Nope. It's our pension funds, it's our ISAs, it's our companies' ability to invest and create new jobs, it's the cost of importing things like petrol and its recession."

"To me, that's just too big a risk to take. So I'm voting to remain and expecting that after the battering we've given the EU here and with French and German General Elections to come in the next eighteen months; I'm expecting that they'll finally see the writing on the wall and accept the need for more change."

"Finally, no matter what the result, please let's learn from last week that the great thing about our democracy is that we have the right to disagree with one and another. Nobody who votes to remain is a traitor, nobody who wants to vote to leave doesn't care for our country. We will all be voting for what we think is best for the United Kingdom. We must respect that and respect the result too."

Burnham's Helen Hims, who is leading the local Vote Leave campaign, told "Many people are being increasingly confused by the countless arguments being flung back and forth. It's time to narrow our decision down to the fundamental issue of: 'who runs our country?'"

"I'm pro-European and pro-World, but anti-EU. To me this referendum is all about self-governance."

"One of the most precious things we possess is the ability to control our destiny through the ballot box; electing and removing those who govern us."

"The EU commission might do some things we like, and our elected politicians might do some things we dislike, but if that's the basis on which we vote to stay, we might as well accept tyranny."

"Voting 'In' on 23rd June doesn't mean no change, it means surrendering everything we've ever known to a foreign, unelected, undemocratic government which will ultimately have the final say over every aspect of our lives - no further ballot boxes required!"

"As the oldest, most stable and most successful country in Europe, the UK has a duty to remind the European Union, barely 50 years old, that government is the servant and not the master of the people."

"The EU model is outdated and failing, the Euro currency doesn't work, its borderless regime is breaking up, the migrant crisis is overwhelming and European solidarity is coming to an end."

"It should be clear the future of Europe lies not with an integrated German-led federal union, but with closely-co-operating independent sovereign nations, seen as normal everywhere else in the world - except the EU."

"This referendum is our chance. We can see the direction in which the EU is going, and we know that no re-negotiation can alter it from within. As the EU shrivels economically, and yet continues its relentless march toward full statehood, we have one last opportunity to stand amicably aside and negotiate a better relationship based on free-trade and self-governance: Vote Leave."

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