Aberavon residents have had the opportunity to air their views on Brexit with their local MP, after Stephen Kinnock organised an event to hear from both sides of the debate. It was the second meeting in the Divided Views, Common Future series and constituents were invited to give their opinion on what Brexit deal they thought would be good for Aberavon, Wales and the United Kingdom.
Over 40 residents attended the session at Port Talbot YMCA with a mixture of views on Brexit. During the course of the discussion they highlighted issues with immigration, jobs, trade and peace in Northern Ireland being particularly significant to them in the Brexit negotiation.
Speaking after the event Mr Kinnock said: ‘This was our second community meeting, as part of our ‘Divided Views, Common Future’ project. It followed on from the first the one, held in March 2017, when Article 50 hadn’t even been triggered. So this time round there was far more meat on the bone to discuss, especially around what expectations there are from Brexit, what is a good deal, and what the Government should do if we don’t get the deal we want.
‘Brexit has split the country in two, and the feedback that I have been getting on the doorstep is that there are plenty of people shouting about it, but there is not a great deal of listening going on. My role as the MP is to bring people together and try to find some common ground, and that is what we are looking to achieve with Divided Views, Common Future: a forum where it doesn’t matter which side of the debate you are on, you can come and share your views.
‘It was an interesting and interactive session on Saturday, and good to get stuck in to the complexities and trade-offs of the negotiations, in the knowledge we all want the best for our community. I’m not sure if common ground was found, but people left with a feeling that they had more information on the intricacies of the negotiations, and on the various arguments.
’For me the session was invaluable in understanding further how the local arguments have moved on as the Brexit negotiations have developed. While the views in the room were mixed, there was agreement around wanting an immigration system that adds value to our community and the economy, that we have the greatest possible access to our EU and global trading partners, and that we keep the peace in Northern Ireland.’