Students have their say at Seevic College hustings
Wednesday, 27 April 2016
Students at Seevic College grilled politicians and community representatives about Britain’s upcoming EU Referendum at a hustings event.
Around 150 A-Level and Vocational students quizzed the panel, chaired by principal Nick Spenceley, on the refugee crisis, free trade agreements and giving 16 and 17-year-olds the chance to vote for or against Brexit.
Rebecca Harris, Conservative MP for Castle Point, Mark Francois, Conservative MP for Rayleigh and Wickford, Dominic Ellis, who stood for the Green Party in Castle Point in the 2015 general election, Ahmad Khwaja, representative of Southend Mosque, and Cllr Sandy Martin of Suffolk County Council Labour Party, on behalf of Joe Cooke, Press and Diversity Officer for Castle Point Labour Party.
Each member of the panel outlined their view to the audience.
Mr Khwaja said: “I firmly believe that our future lies in the EU. I feel Britain is safer, stronger, and better off being a member.”
Mr Francois said: “The EEC was about trade. The EU has gone way beyond that. We are lucky we live in a free country. Many people don’t have that privilege. We live in a democracy but that is being eroded.”
Mr Martin said: “We need to be able to take decisions that benefit everyone and we can’t take decisions that benefit the whole planet in Westminster. We need to be together to make the world a better place.”
Mrs Harris said: “Britain has led the world for centuries as a free trading nation. I don’t want to see us losing this democracy. The EU is about going further towards integration and we would be giving away our democracy.”
Mr Ellis added: “I think it is good to talk about these things, our membership of the EU is important. To me, there is no real good reason to leave the EU. I am going to vote in and I hope you do the same.”
Students asked questions in relation to the courses they are studying.
Law students wanted to know how acts may be affected and business students questioned the panel about the impact on trade.
What our students said:
Jemima Saunders, 19, will be voting in the referendum and asked the panel about whether being a member of NATO is more important than remaining a member of the EU.
She said: “I thought it was really good, it’s nice to see a healthy debate. In the media you only see PMQ’s and it is nice to see the debate.
“The responses were quite detailed. They were all quite well prepared.”
And Charley Frost, 17, added: “I thought it was really good, it hasn’t changed my mind though. I thought the responses were really good.
“I think it is really important that everyone that can go out and vote, does.”
Principal Nick Spenceley said: “Engaging young people in politics is hugely important and I am delighted Seevic College hosted this event at a crucial time in the build-up to the EU Referendum.
“Sometimes young people can feel left out of political discussions, but as the students’ future is at stake it is essential they are given the opportunity to ask questions about topics important to them that will help to influence their voting decision.”
To find out more information on the variety of courses offered at Seevic please visit www.seevic-college.ac.uk