EU Q&A sessions to go region wide

An information session on Britain's impending EU referendum on Thursday 7 January drew a packed audience and was declared a great success and will now be the launchpad for a series of similar meeting across the West Midlands.

There was standing room only as more than 100 attended Ross on Wye's Larruperz Centre for the meeting organised by West Midlands Conservative MEP Anthea McIntyre with the aim of providing factual and impartial information on Britain's membership of the European Union, its pros and cons.

She believes voters feel short of simple and reliable information, especially as both sides in the referendum debate bombard them with contradictory messages and told the audience they would be her "guinea pigs" in gauging the appetite for such meetings.

Questions covered the net cost of the EU to Britain, its effect on trade, the impact of EU regulations, local grant aid, the role of the European courts, immigration and border security, and David Cameron's renegotiation strategy.

After the meeting, Miss McIntyre said: "The questions showed that people really feel the need for more first-hand information to help their decision in this hugely important vote. We advertised the event in our local papers and that certainly did the trick. The turn-out and the high level of interest showed me that we need to do more.

"I have tried to be as unbiased as possible and I think people appreciated that. Where I could not answer a particular question I will try to find the details and forward them later. This experiment in my own home area shows that we must do the same elsewhere. We are going to take this on tour across the region and we are working out a programme and will publicise it as soon as possible."