Should we stay or should we go? Bromley residents divided over whether MPs should vote to trigger Article 50
PUBLISHED: 11:46 30 January 2017 | UPDATED: 08:20 31 January 2017
The results of a poll and a survey reveal the divisions exposed by the EU referendum have not gone away
Public opinion in Bromley is divided over one of the most pressing issues in politics - whether or not MPs should vote to trigger Article 50 and begin the UK’s exit from the EU.
The borough defied the UK result and narrowly voted to remain in the EU referendum (by 50.6 per cent to 49.4 per cent), and three of its MPs - Conservatives Bob Neill and Jo Johnson, and Labour’s Jim Dowd - backed the Remain campaign.
Since the referendum, all apart from Jim Dowd have indicated they will vote in favour of triggering Article 50.
But research by the Bromley Times shows public opinion is divided on this major issue, with 54 per cent saying Beckenham MP Bob Stewart should reflect his constituents’ views and vote against Article 50.
Meanwhile, many of those surveyed in Bromley town centre supported triggering Article 50 - with even remain voters accepting the national result.
John Evans, 67, from West Wickham, voted to remain in the referendum.
He said: “We had the vote and whether you agree or not more than 50 per cent say we should go for it.
“Before the agreement is made it has to be agreed by parliament.”
Fair Acres resident Alan Ingram, 62, also voted remain but said: “They should trigger Article 50 in the simplest form. We need to leave.”
Bickley resident Michael Miller, 51, voted to leave in the referendum.
“That was the vote,” he said. “It was a simple vote and the majority voted to go out.”
But Robin and Lesley Ablett, 74 and 69, from West Wickham, offered a different perspective, saying MPs should vote with their conscience.
“We have young grandchildren and got really lectured on the referendum,” Mrs Ablett said. “Staying in the EU is better for them.”
Biggin Hill resident Howard Gill, 76, echoed this point of view. “It is correct that it could and should go through parliament,” he said.
“MPs represent their constituents but are free to vote according to their wishes. I think they should follow their conscience.”
Mr Gill’s wife Leigh, 74, said: “I think the country voted to trigger Article 50 and it should be respected.”
Emma Ward, 24, from Locksbottom, runs a business that sources items from the EU and has been affected by the fall in the value of the pound.
She said: “My whole buy per item has gone up by 20 or 30p. Across the whole collection it makes a difference. I don’t think people realise the effect.
“MPs should vote however Bromley voted - otherwise they would be going against their constituents.
“I don’t think it should have been put to a vote, but hopefully we will come out of the EU stronger.”
Responding to the poll results, Beckenham MP Bob Stewart told the Bromley Times he is planning to vote in favour of triggering Article 50.
“Every MP is going to do that - Tories and most Labour MPs - because parliament was too windy to decide on whether we should stay in the EU and handed the decision to the people in a referendum by an act of parliament, which bound the people’s representatives to accept the result of the people, which was four per cent in favour of leaving. We don’t have a choice, in my view.
“There was less than a one per cent difference in the constituency. For every email I get saying avoid voting for Article 50, I am getting an equal number saying ‘how dare you consider voting against Article 50?’.
“But even so, MPs are elected to make their own minds up and I have been clear on this issue in every election.”