At the start of the evening an interactive Glisser poll revealed 18.8% of the 60-strong audience of event planners would be voting to leave the EU. By the end of the debate, the number of those voting to leave the EU had risen by 15% to 34.1% of the audience.
The MIA debate, which took place at The HAC, London, saw MPs James Heappey and Chris Heaton-Harris, both part of the All-Party Parliamentary Group, join a panel with City Pubs and Britain Stronger in Europe campaigner Clive Watson, Vote Leave’s Luke Springthorpe, Redcomb Pubs’ David Franks, Britain Stronger in Europe and Vrumi.com founder Roddy Campbell as well as conference and event presenter Jeremy Jacobs and industry trainer and consultant Richard John.
John argued that people would stop meeting face-to-face and stop attending events after a leave vote, as they would be much worse off with six to 12% of their salaries ‘wiped out’. Watson stressed that one of the main reasons to stay was access to the single market and the freedom of goods and services.
On the leave side, Franks argued that ‘trade in the EU has been going down over time’ and it is ‘not a reason to stay in the EU as a break up is inevitable’. Heaton-Harris agreed and claimed the UK ‘pays a lot of money to be part of the club’ and should be looking to the ‘bigger global market’ instead.
Heappey took a neutral stance, believing in the long run the industry would be fine either way. However he underlined how important it is to make it easier to for those overseas to get a visa to host their events in the UK.
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