EU Referendum: debating in or out

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On Friday 13 May, the University held a debate on the upcoming EU referendum. The question time style event explored views both for and against Britain remaining in the EU in front of a sold-out audience.

It was a lively debate featuring alumni in the form of the moderator, Jason Cowley (BA English and Philosophy, 1989) and Dr Alan Whitehead MP (BA Philosophy and Politics, 1983; PhD Social Sciences, 1976). Other speakers were the Rt Hon Desmond Swayne MP and students Matthew Cowley on the leave side, and James Edwards on remain.

For Jason Cowley, this was the rare opportunity to take time out of editing the New Statesman to return to Southampton. He told us: “I was delighted to return. So much had changed and yet it was still recognisably my old university, where I spent three happy and stimulating years. I was impressed by all the new buildings and the ambition that the University has as it expands and becomes more internationally renowned.

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Jason Cowley

The debate was good fun and I thought the student participants were excellent. The setting was what we used to call the Debating Chamber. I used to attend debates and events there but did not debate myself. In retrospect, that was a mistake.  After all these years, I was delighted to be on the stage performing rather than merely in the audience!

”Alan Whitehead also spoke to Southampton Connects afterwards. “I enjoyed the debate and thought it was remarkably constructive. It can be rare to get an opportunity to discuss important matters in something larger than a ten-second soundbite! I also thought the students were very impressive and contributed greatly to the quality of the debate.”

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