TWYFORD became the unlikely setting for a political debate on the future of Britain’s place within the EU on Friday.
Hundreds of people crowded into the pews of St Mary’s Church, in Station Road, on Friday evening to hear the Home Secretary and local MP Theresa May explain why she believes the UK should remain in the EU.
Holding her ground against fierce opposition from the audience, Mrs May outlined her reasons for remaining based on hot issues such as immigration, security and the economy.
Hosted by parishioner and local resident Steven Buckley, the 90 minute debate was briefly interrupted by the peeling of the church’s bellringers providing some comic relief to the proceedings.
Mrs May said: “Remaining inside the EU makes us more secure, prosperous and more influential.
“If you look back over the last 40 years the EU has changed, more countries have joined as member states and many people feel they want to think again about whether it still works for them.”
Mrs May fielded dozens of questions from the audience, including one woman whose company had recently relocated hundreds of jobs to Europe, and a French migrant who believed the focus of the debate should be on the levels of peace the union had maintained since the 1940s.
Closing the session, Mrs May said: “What is really good is that so many people have come tonight, it shows the interest in the referendum.
“What I really hope is that people will vote on Europe of the future, not on what it is now or what it has been, but what it will become if we choose to stay.”
Mr Buckley said: “The EU referendum is a once in a lifetime vote for many of us, so it was great to see so many people join us at St Mary’s Church in Twyford.
“While I originally conceived of the event as a hustings, having just Theresa there for a question and answer session meant that we could take time to focus on the issues, rather than the arguments.
“The feedback we’ve received has been very positive from people on both sides of the debate and I hope the event has helped local people to make an informed decision.”