In the first of a series of 'Big Questions' to the eight candidates in the running for the Clacton seat, we asked how did you vote in the EU referendum? Do you stick by that decision, and why?

If you have a question for the candidates email it to cf.gazette@nqe.com and we will choose the best ones to pose to the candidates. Please include your address and telephone number.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette: Chris Southall

Chris Southall (Green): I VOTED Remain and I stick by that decision. Leaving Europe will be a catastrophe. Brexit will make the crisis in social care and care homes worse as overseas workers leave. There are about 90,000 vacancies for social care jobs in England; if UK workers could fill the vacancies, why aren’t they? In the NHS we depend on doctors and nurses from overseas, and 10 per cent of health worker jobs are vacant.

Some farms in East Anglia are likely to go bust if deprived of migrant workers to harvest their crops. The EU strengthens our environmental and worker protection legislation.

Seas are polluted, coral reefs dying, fish stocks worldwide decreasing; air pollution is sending thousands to an early death every year. The EU would prosecute the UK for not dealing with our air pollution. The economic results of leaving will be dire. It is not only about making trade agreements (hard though that is!); businesses will have to scour the world for new places to sell their goods and services.

Brexit cannot take us back to a time when the UK had influence in the world; it will leave us on the sidelines, an onlooker with no voice.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Nick Martin (Ind): I VOTED leave in the EU referendum, and I do stick to that decision. The reason I voted leave wasn’t to do with the economy or immigration, I’m an economist and have friends and relatives from all round the world.

The UK is a historic, sovereign nation with global influence and reputation, the EU was founded on the basis of the European Community according to Article 1 of the EU. It has grown into a European Government, it has a Parliament, a President, the budget of a world Super State, and the ability to enforce laws on and make demands of sovereign nations.

Our culture and national identity is a key part of our society, I for one am not ready to distance power further from the people and into a European Government.

As for the economics of it, the UK has always had and always will have partnerships with the EU. I stand by many of the continental and global projects and I am happy for the UK to continue partnership and contribute to them. I am however against paying a bill for leaving, especially one that nobody seems to be able to back up with any reliable figures.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

David Grace (Lib Dem): I VOTED to Remain in the European Union and I would again for three reasons. The economic arguments are overwhelming and only by working together can we confront the environmental problems facing the world especially climate change but, above all, 28 countries debating, voting and passing laws together is better than centuries of warfare. France’s new President Macron will work with Germany’s Angela Merkel to reform the EU. Britain should have been there to play its part.

The real question is what now? The Leave campaign lied about the consequences of Brexit and had no plan for the future. Like Nigel Farage, Theresa May wants Britain out of the Single Market. Nobody voted for that to happen. It would be neither strong nor stable but, with tariffs on imports and against British exports, would be the guaranteed route to higher prices, fewer jobs and more austerity.

Clacton faces enough problems already with too few doctors, cuts to school budgets, public investment and benefits. Leaving the Single Market would only make these worse. Liberal Democrats will fight to stay in the Single Market and to give everyone a vote on the final deal.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Paul Oakley (Ukip): FUNNILY enough, I voted “Leave” in the referendum. This was the most important vote I have ever cast and it followed a 25 year struggle as an activist to free our nation from the EU. Until the time of the Maastricht Treaty I was a supporter of the European project. But having studied the scheme further, I realised it would end in disaster. So I ripped up a copy of that Treaty at the end of my speech to a Young Tory conference in 1993 and haven’t looked back since.

Were it not for Ukip, which I joined six years ago, or the work of Nigel Farage, the British people would never have been given a choice to leave. All the Remainer scare stories of the referendum have failed to come true. There was no immediate recession. There will be no “punishment budget”. We are not at “the back of the queue” for a trade deal with the USA. The 52 per cent are absolutely right and we need regret nothing at all.

My only concern is that Theresa May’s Tories are dragging their heels over Brexit and don’t have the guts to resist Brussels bullies. Ukip’s job is not nearly done.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Tasha Osben (Lab): I VOTED to remain in the EU referendum. I felt there was too much uncertainty to make the decision at that time. I feel there should have been discussions about the form leaving the EU would take prior to holding the referendum. I felt there was too much risk involved in holding the referendum at a time where it was not clear what a ‘leave’ result would mean; Much more work should have been carried out by the Conservative government to establish how we would approach Brexit negotiations before the referendum took place.

However, the results of the EU referendum are clear. We will be leaving the European Union. It is now up to the people to decide whether it will be a Labour or Conservative government who leads the negotiations with the EU. We need a government who are committed and capable to get the best possible deal out of Brexit for Britain.

I do not trust Theresa May with this task. May continues to repeat her “strong and stable” slogan yet has shown nothing but weakness and instability during her short time as Prime Minister. We cannot trust May to do what she says she will; she campaigned for remain, yet claims that she will deliver a “hard Brexit” deal for Britain.

May will not go head to head with Corbyn in a televised debate and insists all journalists’ questions are pre-approved. I have grave concerns about this woman leading our Brexit negotiations. The only party who can deliver on Brexit are Labour.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Giles Watling (Con): AS a convinced Eurosceptic like many others, including Theresa May, I wanted major changes to our relationship with Europe. I wanted our sovereignty back, control of our borders and a significant reduction in immigration.

However I felt we were better off fighting for these reforms from within the union, with the financial and national security that offered.

But above all I am a democrat and the wishes of the British people must be respected. Britain must leave the EU.

Therefore I back Theresa May wholeheartedly in her negotiations and believe the only way we can make a great deal for this country is to give Theresa the strongest mandate to stand up to the pressures the 27 European countries will want to bring to bear.

If they play hard ball - so can we - after all, there is the rest of the world to with which to trade. We are British and we will prevail.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Robin Tilbrook (English Democrats): I CAMPAIGNED and voted for Leaving the EU and I am delighted by the result and the shockwaves it has sent through the British Establishment.

The next big issue is the “English Question”.

That’s the rights and interests of the English to be fairly treated!

The English Democrats are the political voice for England and the English Nation.

Our pledges are to put more police back on the street to crack down on crime; to ensure that mass, uncontrolled immigration is stopped; to ensure free social care for England; and prioritise housing for local people and to get Clacton leading the way in having the biggest St George’s Day celebrations in England.

Clacton and Frinton Gazette:

Caroline Shearer (Ind): MY Vote in the EU Referendum was Out. I stand by what I voted for. We needed to take back control over immigration so we could decide who comes into our country. The EU had its own foreign aid programme which gave away our money.

In 2013 the EU spent more than £11 billion on foreign aid, nearly the same as the UK Government.

We ended up putting more money into the EU than what we got out and with our deficit we could not afford to give this money away anymore.

However we will still trade with Europe as we import more than we export. The UK had to be able to decide its own future and make our own laws without the red tape and rules from the EU. We needed to gain our own identity back as Great Britain. Plus we will be able to buy a normal light bulb.