They were addressed by Brexit PPC Peter Wiltshire, who explained that he was a businessman, not a career politician and had only become involved in politics because he believes so passionately that the United Kingdom will have a better future outside the European Union. He also made it clear that he understands why people in the UK, including many Islanders, feel badly let down by career politicians, who all too often say one thing and do another.
Islanders attending were united in their belief that Theresa May’s Withdrawal Bill was a dreadful deal for the country, with Peter describing it as ‘a terrible treaty that we could never get out of’, and were horrified that Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely had voted for it 3 times. One lady exclaiming passionately ‘Not in my name!’. Peter pointed out that the Irish backstop, the most talked about part of the Withdrawal Deal, was just one shortcoming. It would also not give back control of our borders, fisheries or the ability to strike trade deals with non-EU countries.
Peter explained that one of the most difficult questions he has faced on the Island’s doorsteps was ‘Do you live here full-time?’. He explained that he and his wife Kate spend as much time in their Island home as possible, but they have school-age children in a mainland state boarding school and he travels for business all over the country, and often abroad.
“I’ve been coming to the Island for years and bought my home in Sandown before being selected as the Brexit Party candidate. But I’m an honest person and can’t pretend I live here full time. The response from one person in the audience was ‘At least you do own property on the Island – our MP doesn’t!’. I’ve heard this from a number of people before and must say that if true, it’s astonishing that he owns property elsewhere, but not in his own constituency. I’m writing to him to find out.
“This was an initial meeting of a few Islanders interested in helping with the Brexit Party campaign. More meetings will follow to develop our plans. None of us know for sure whether we will be leaving the EU on October 31st, but the feeling last night was that if we do leave then it must be for real, and not a phony version of Leave with the EU still allowed to call the shots. To be honest I’d rather stay in the EU than leave under the terms of the deal that Mr Seely has supported at every opportunity.
“If any Islanders would like to be involved in the campaign they can e-mail me on [email protected]. We may not have the experience and organisation of the established political parties, but my God, we’ve got enthusiasm and a willingness to work for what we believe in.”