THE BBC World Service were in Redditch on Tuesday to talk about Brexit.
Joining presenter Ben James and his team for a two hour debate on BBC OS was Redditch Standard editor Ross Crawford and five other guests – our host John Mahler of Bennett Mahler, a local firm which makes the machines that make springs, former Redditch market stall holders Sue Freeman and her son Stuart, local businessman Alistair Butler, and French national but 20 years Redditch resident Celine Dommart.
The show, BBC Outside Source or OS, is touring the country, visiting Brexit hotspots – Redditch voted 62 per cent in favour of Leaving – to gauge the feelings of local population as the government races towards approving or rejecting the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
It proved a lively and good humoured discussion with views both for and against leaving the European Union and Theresa May’s deal clearly expressed.
It was on a significant day too as the Government lost an unprecedented three votes as MPs found the Government in contempt of Parliament over the legal advice on the Brexit deal.
Joining the debate live from the Houses of Parliament was local MP Rachel Maclean who spoke for 15 minutes before the division bell, the signal for a vote to take place, called her away.
Mrs Maclean had voted for Remain before becoming MP but has since changed her position to support the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
She gave a passionate response when asked by Ross why, have changed her mind on leaving Europe, she wasn’t prepared to give the people of Britain the same opportunity by backing a People’s Vote, saying a decision had to be made and if another referendum was granted what was to stop a third one?
Also joining in was BBC parliament correspondent Rob Watson, a man with his finger on the Brexit pulse in the House of Commons.
However even he was wary of predicting what the outcome of the crucial vote next Tuesday, December 11, might be when Theresa May’s deal is debated.
Will it be approved? Will Britain ‘crash out’ of the EU? Will there be a second vote?
He was reluctant to say which way he though it would go with all options still on the table.
“Our debate was a microcosm of what must be going on all over the country as we come to the crunch over Europe,” said Ross.
“It’s plain there are passionately held views on all sides of the debate and all eyes will be on events next week when MPs get their ‘meaningful say’ on Mrs May’s Brexit deal.”
BBC OS’s Brexit debates continue in Grimsby today and Northern Ireland tomorrow.
To hear the Redditch debate in full visit https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w172w613m0gg0w9