THIS Friday in Stroud, I will join a public meeting where both those who voted to remain in the EU and those who voted to leave will explore ideas and options about our future outside the EU.

The referendum and its aftermath has caused political, economic and social instability and division.

But across the country, people are starting to come together, bridging the Leave/Remain divide, to talk about what the result says about the state of the UK, and look at ways forward.

We have to accept that a majority of people in England and Wales who voted to leave the EU voted against something, but were unclear what alternative they were voting for and hold a diverse range of views about what the post-EU settlement might look like.

We do know that the government is increasingly moving towards what has become termed ‘hard Brexit’.

Yet even within this scenario there are diverse views about what this might mean. For example, it could mean radical changes to the way we support farmers.

By leaving the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) we could switch farm payments away from wealthy landowners and instead subsidise a transition to environmentally and ecologically sustainable small-scale farming, with a focus on rural livelihoods, encouraging biodiversity, protecting our soils and high animal welfare standards.

But to those plotting our exit from the EU, ‘hard Brexit’ means above all else leaving the single market and stopping freedom of movement.

Talk of the UK being able to liberalise its trading arrangements and strike up competitive deals with countries across the world would mean the risk of a race to the bottom for British workers, forced to compete with workers in countries like China and Brazil.

The Green Party are clear: the UKs interests are best served by staying as close to the EU as possible, ensuring we protect both jobs, workers’ rights and the environment. Greens believe that our future vision needs to broaden beyond trade to include vital social and environmental issues.

  • An evening of discussion and sharing ideas with Molly on the best way to move forward following the EU referendum will be held at Stroud Sub Rooms at 7.30pm.