THE result of the referendum has certainly split opinion – particularly among Somerset’s MPs.

In the build up to the vote, Taunton Deane MP Rebecca Pow and Wells MP James Heappey both came out in support of the Remain campaign, with South Somerset MP Marcus Fysh backing the Brexit and West Somerset and Bridgwater MP Ian Liddell-Grainger refusing to say which way he would vote.


Speaking after the result was announced, Ms Pow paid tribute to David Cameron following his shock resignation, and told the County Gazette: “It is because we are a democracy that we have been able to have our say, on what might be considered the greatest decision of our generation which will have an impact for years to come.

“As I have stated before, there are sound views on either side of the in and out debate and I respect those views, but now that the decision has been made we must pull together for the good of the country to make this work. 

“Deep in the Conservative Party, running through all our history, is a belief in the strength, value and longevity of a distinct British democracy. Our principles are broad, constant and true, and we must draw on these now to make a success of this new period in our history.

“I promised that whatever the outcome, I would continue to be your hard-working MP, pushing to make Taunton Deane the best possible place it can be and that is what I will do.

“I am also conscious that we need to keep up the pressure in the wider South-West, to ensure that all the progress made in terms of investment in infrastructure and other projects continues, bringing much needed prosperity and opportunity to the region, and I will be working with my fellow MP’s to ensure this happens.

"It includes continuing the progressive welfare programme which is helping people who are able to, to move from benefit dependency and into work.

“It is essential that we put any differences aside and work together as we have done so many times before to make our country a successful, tolerant, enterprising and Conservative-led nation.”

Mr Liddell-Grainger said: “The decision has been taken and we have to live with it.

“The challenge now is to ensure it makes the least impact on the UK economy and particularly on those companies which have long-established and profitable trading links with Europe and whose workforces depend on them.

“Naturally I wish to see an end to the conflicts there have been between some Remain and Leave campaigners. The decision is made and all of us have to face up to the consequences.

“What is of overriding importance is that we maintain our trading arrangements with the rest of Europe, and if any local companies do start experiencing problems then I would ask them to get in touch with my office and I shall do whatever I can to help.”

South Somerset MP Marcus Fysh thanked residents of Somerset for turning out in force for the vote, and welcomed the result.

He said: “I want to reassure everyone that as well as effectively instructing Parliament to increase accountability in politics, this vote gives our country a superb opportunity to reset our relationships with EU member states.

“It does not mean less engagement with European friends, allies and partners. On the contrary we can look to deepen our links, and I will be pressing for the upcoming negotiations to take a positive and empathetic approach, as well as robustly standing up for what we need.

“This way we can get the best possible arrangements that work for Europe and those from Europe who live here too.

“Work has already started on the negotiations, and I would encourage anyone with ideas about what positive changes they would like to see achieved through them, whether in business or otherwise, to get in touch so I can feed them in.

“I would like to see trade remain free between the EU and the UK, for necessary workforce still to be able to travel freely and cheaply, and for co-operation on security for Europe and on equipment to increase.

“It will not of course always be easy, and I am sorry David Cameron will be stepping down. He gave us this opportunity and deserves our deep gratitude for setting our economy on the right track so we come at it from a position of strength.

“I wish the process were such that the Prime Minister’s successor could be in place sooner, but it should be complete as soon as it can be.

“I wish to end by saying we now need to come together as a community. Whichever way the vote went, many would have had to come to terms with the democratic result and make it work.

“Intolerance and bitterness have no place, and on the contrary we must now show ourselves to be the friendly, open, outward-looking and welcoming people I know we are.”

Mr Heappey said: “I have to admit the result was a big shock. 

“But this was a referendum and we must respect the will of the people. The victory was narrow, but still decisive and now we must look ahead at the path to Brexit.

“I was surprised and slightly disappointed. I don’t think he needed to step down and could have provided further stability if he had stayed in charge for longer, because I think he has left the party in a difficult situation. 

“I personally feel the priority should be trying to sort out our Brexit policy as soon as possible, I do not necessarily think it would be right to trigger Article 50 straightaway, but we should prioritise preparing for Brexit, not for a leadership contest.

“The sooner we move forward the better. This referendum was entirely democratic, if we believe in democracy we must accept the result.”