On Thursday, 12 May, after hearing evidence from leading food experts, a citizens’ jury voted 12-1 that staying in the European Union would be better for British food. The all-day event took place at The Duke of Cambridge, in Islington, London, and it was jointly organised by People’s Knowledge at the Centre for Agroecology, Water and Resilience, Coventry University and the Food Research Collaboration.
The jury was comprised of 13 members of the public who applied to participate in the event. Six expert witnesses talked about food-related issues and the likely impact of Brexit, drawing from their professional experience: Joan Walley (former Labour MP, former Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons), Professor Tim Lang (City University London, founder of the FRC), Guy Watson (founder of Riverford Organic Farmers), Professor Erik Millstone (University of Sussex), Vicki Hird (War on Want) and Dr Allan Bullion (Business Analyst for Informa Agra).
The verdict of the jury, reached after one hour’s deliberation, was not unanimous: one juror voted for the UK to leave the EU, 7 jurors voted for the UK to remain in the EU, and 5 jurors who were tending towards “remain” said they would need more information on Brexit before making a decision. A detailed report of the event can be found on the People’s Knowledge website.
The momentous issue of the Brexit referendum and its implications for the food sector have also been the subject of a recent FRC briefing paper, which can be read in full on our website.