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Boston first call for Brexit committee

An all-party Commons select committee made Boston its first port of call on Thursday when it came to town to discuss Brexit.

It was the first in a nationwide tour by the select committee on exiting the EU, aimed at gathering information and opinion from grass roots.

The select committee held three listening sessions in town - the first with borough and county councillors and officers, the police, the NHS and representatives from further education. The next session - these two held at Municipal Buildings with the borough council as host - was with representatives from the business sector. The final session, at the Len Medlock Centre, was with members of the public.

Committee chairman, Hilary Benn MP, said, as a first session of the committee, it was a terrific day and people had spoken to MPs openly and honestly.

Boston Borough Council made the point about the disparity between Boston's official population, the actual population and the funding received to provide services for that population.

It was also stressed that once the degree of control of immigration is decided Boston will still continue to need a migrant workforce.

The public session saw groups, each with their own member of the select committee, debating three main questions: Why did Boston vote to leave the EU by such a large margin, how should migration be controlled once the UK leaves the EU and  what are the risks and opportunities of Brexit for Boston.

The responses included: A protest vote against uncontrolled immigration - too many, too fast, pressures on services such as housing, health and education, language barriers, street drinking, instructed by Brussels but forgotten by Westminster and the "remain" campaign, lack of adequate funding, recognition of the need for migrant labour in agriculture, horticulture and the health system. Some even told MPs that Lincoln absorbed too many resources at Boston's cost.

Hilary Benn said that what they had heard would be reflected in the reports and help the committee to do its work.

During his visit yesterday, the Chair of the Exiting the European Union Committee Hilary Benn mentioned that his wife's grandfather G.Vernon Clarke had been the Mayor of Boston in 1947 and so whilst the meeting was taking place colleagues located the official Mayoral book and took a photograph for Hilary to take away with him, which he was very pleased to receive.  He also visited the Council Chamber and took a photograph of the board displaying the names of previous Mayors including G.Vernon Clarke's.

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