EU REFERENDUM: Should we stay or should we go?

In just two weeks time, the people of Derbyshire will be asked to take a decision that could have huge impact on the county for decades to come.

The vote on whether we remain in the European Union or leave will take place on Thursday June 23 and in the last few days it is clear the final stages of the campaign have begun in earnest.

Which way will you be voting?

Which way will you be voting?

The last time people were asked their opinion on the matter was June 5, 1975, meaning you would have to be 59 years old now to have had a vote back then and it might be 2057 until you get another!

But, so close to polling day, do people know enough about it the issues at stake to make an informed decision?

We went out to gauge opinion at Chesterfield Market to find out if the traders and customers had managed to make up their mind and if so which way they were leaning.

The mind of trader Rob Gallimore, from Codnor, was most definitely already made up.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins.

He said: “When we signed up for the common market it was just a trade agreement - it wasn’t going to be a United States of Europe where all our laws are being taken away by unelected people.

“So I don’t think it is what we signed up for and we have been hoodwinked over it but the media is biased for staying in there and there is a lot of fearmongering about.”

Another trader, Joe Sparham, from Nottingham, disagreed.

He said: “I’m definitely for staying in not only for economic reasons but because of the way it unites the people.

East Midlands MEP, Emma McClarkin.

East Midlands MEP, Emma McClarkin.

“I am a great supporter of the United Nations and Europe is just an extension of that as far as I am concerned.

“The more we join together and the more we pull together the safer we are.”

However, trader Lynne Speed, of Newbold, spoke for many when she said she didn’t really understand the issues at stake.

“I haven’t made up my mind yet but I probably won’t vote as I don’t think it will make any difference either way,” she said.

But customer Catherine Nellis, of Chesterfield, said she personally wanted to leave but thought it was important people voted no matter what they believed.

“Women fought and died for the right so no matter which way you are voting just go out and vote.”

“I am voting to come out because there is just too much money spent on admin and things that don’t concern the United Kingdom.

“We are just bunched in with everybody else we are supposed to be an island so we should run as an island.”

And Vera Saville from Stretton said she would have voted to leave but had been put off by the people who represented them.

She said: “My first thought was to vote to leave but the thing that stops me now is that the sort of people who are voting to leave I don’t trust any of them.

“I’m totally against Boris and all his ridiculousness - he just doesn’t work for me so I just need more information that’s all and I don’t know if I could trust anybody.”

All of which makes it clear that those responsible for making the case have a lot of work on their hands.

Two of those people are Chesterfield MP, Toby Perkins, and East Midlands MEP Emma McClarkin.

Speaking on Monday, Mr Perkins said: “We have a job of work to explain why the Labour Party is advocating staying in the EU.

“Clearly there are people on both sides of the campaign and we will see what happens.

“There are Labour people on both sides and Tories on both sides as well so it might be quite close both nationally and in Chesterfield.

“A lot of people out there are wanting more information and are not certain what the full implications are going to be - there is a great deal of uncertainty.

Mr Perkins was keen to combat the charge by some leave campaigners that ‘remainers’ were running a ‘fear-based’ campaign.

“Talking about some of the huge risk, uncertainty and complications that leaving would bring is really important,” he said.

Conservative MEP and ‘Brexit’ campaigner, Emma McClarkin, disagreed.

She said: “We are in a David and Goliath fight and we are definitely the underdog.

“But when we are on the streets and walking around we are getting a really positive reaction to the vote leave campaign.

“People have just had enough of the EU and want to believe that Britain can stand on its own two feet again.

“People who vote to leave are voting to take back control of our own country and look out to the rest of the world.”