On 10th February 2016 Brick Court hosted a panel discussion in Lincoln’s Inn entitled ‘EU – Should we stay or should we go?’. The event was attended by over 400 guests including judges, politicians, solicitors, barristers and journalists.
The panellists were Lord Lawson of Blaby, former Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer and president of Conservatives for Britain; Sir Konrad Schiemann, former judge of the European Court of Justice; Kate Hoey MP, Labour MP for Vauxhall and a founder member of Labour Leave; Baroness Ludford, Liberal Democrat Europe spokesman and former Liberal Democrat MEP; Daniel Hannan MEP, Conservative MEP for South East England and Secretary-General of the Alliance of European Conservatives and Reformists; and Lord Falconer, former Lord Chancellor and Shadow Justice Secretary. The discussion was chaired by BBC presenter Shaun Ley.
Questions for the panellists were topical and wide-ranging. They included the success of the Prime Minister’s deal to place a ‘brake’ on benefits for migrants, the impact of ‘Brexit’ on the City of London and national security, the alternatives to EU membership, and the implications for relations with Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Strong views were expressed on both sides of the debate. Supporters of EU membership described the Union as the “most successful peace-keeping mission in history” and said that co-operation with other Member States was “essential” for maintaining security and promoting Britain’s trade interests. The proponents of Brexit argued that the Union had fallen into the “trappings of statehood” and that Britain would be able to preserve its access to the European market by entering into a trade agreement with the EU.
Overall, the panel discussion demonstrated the strength of feeling on both sides of the EU membership debate, and foreshadowed the energetic campaigns that will be conducted ahead of the referendum later this year.
Brick Court Chambers