We asked every North Devon and Torridge district councillor whether they would stay or go – find out who replied and what they said...

As the EU referendum looms, it seems the question has divided councillors in North Devon and Torridge as much as the electorate.

The Gazette asked every district councillor for their personal view on how they would be voting on June 23, with the Brexit camp having the majority.

North Devon Council has 43 councillors, of which 20 responded to our query. Eight opted for ‘out’ and six to remain ‘in’, with three undecided.

Torridge District Council has 36 councillors, of which 10 responded to our survey. Five said they will vote ‘out’, two for ‘in’ and three undecided.

Several from both councils said they would prefer not to comment as it was their personal belief.

Here’s what some of them had to say...

IN: Cllr Joy Cann (NDC) I believe this country is stronger and better off trading and working within the EU and being part of the world’s largest single market; with vital support and subsidies for our farmers and small businesses.

Cllr Brian Greenslade (NDC) As we have seen since the announcement of the referendum date, sterling has come under pressure and it would be an economic disaster if we came out of the EU. We are Europeans and many local people gave their lives so that Europe could remain free in the first and second world wars.

Cllr Cathrine Simmons (TDC)The main reason I wish to remain in the EU is the social justice it has brought to the 28 countries; human rights is a core principle. The EU has led the way in pushing for ambitious targets on climate change, air quality, healthy rivers and beaches.

Cllr James Morrish (TDC)Without question our farmers need to be supported and be competing on a level playing field with other farmers across Europe. I am not sure that if we leave the British Government (of any political colour) would be able to provide the type of support needed.

OUT: Cllr Dick Jones (NDC)We must protect this country from undue, unwelcome and unnecessary interference from an un-elected body in Brussels, which seeks to control our laws, our lives and to dictate to us.

Cllr Rodney Cann (NDC) On balance, I believe we would be better off to face the economic challenges of the future if we were free of the shackles of the EU to enable us to make use of our traditional strengths to trade freely in world markets.

Cllr Peter Le Maistre (TDC)I am for Brexit. I was for the original EC, but not in any way at all for a Federal Europe. Britain is a sovereign country and should continue to rule itself and be in charge of its own destiny.

Cllr Andrew Eastman (TDC)My main reason for voting to leave the EU is immediately we will have more than £350million pounds every week to invest in something like our national health system.

UNDECIDED: Cllr Joe Tucker (NDC) – I am willing to listen to both sides, and I intend to do just that before I make an informed decision near the voting date.

Cllr Frank Biederman (NDC) – Difficult to find any independent pros and cons, which clearly there will be.

Cllr Phil Pennington (TDC) – For the rural economy (agriculture), probably best in EU. For the wider economy, the costs outweigh the gains, therefore better out of the EU.

If there was funding for improvements to the A361 and dualling the A303 from the EU, then I would feel more inclined to vote ‘in’.

Cllr Margaret Brown (TDC) – I will be weighing up all the pros and cons before making a decision.

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