A staunch Euro-sceptic on Northampton’s market and a prominent “in” campaigner put their differences aside to sell some fruit and veg together, when Labour’s battle bus rolled into town today.
Former opposition leadership candidate Liz Kendall, joined Eamonn Fitzpatrick on his stall this afternoon as Labour’s red In for Britain battle bus took up a pitch in Market Square.
In recent weeks Mr Fitzparick has displayed a number of display boards calling on people to vote to leave the EU in the June 23 referendum.
Though he shared smiles with Mrs Kendall as they greeted punters together, he said he would not be swayed by the Leicester West MP’s arguments on trade, immigration and workers’ rights.
“No, nothing has changed,” he said. “This should all be about the man on the street, but the politicians have taken over.
“What John Major said about Boris was disgraceful, it was gutter politics.”
After making short speeches in the square, Mrs Kendall, flanked by East Midlands MEP Glenis Wilmott and fellow Labour members Vernon Coaker, Jon Ashworth and Lilian Greenwood, toured the market to talk to the public.
Though there were not large scenes of protest like those seen when Nigel Farage visited the town last week, the Labour members did face heckles from onlookers.
One man said: “How can you talk about jobs? We used to have a shipbuilding industry, a motorcar industry and a steel industry.”
But reacting to Mr Farage’s comments that leaving the EU would not harm trade in Northamptonshire, Mrs Kendall said: “A lot of the businesses I talk to say the last thing we need is any insecurity, we’ve been through a tough time economically, there is choppy days ahead.
“Many businesses think that ,as we improve the market in things like digital and technology, that will give our companies an opportunity to grow inside the EU.
“I also think our membership is vital for workers’ rights.”
In recent days, Jeremy Corbyn, the man who beat Mrs Kendall and others to the party leadership, has been accused of not doing enough for the remain campaign.
But Mrs Kendall said she has been on the trail since January.
She said: “We are absolutely busting a gut to get out a positive message about why our membership of the EU is so important for jobs, for our businesses that export to Europe, for workers’ rights and for huge issues we face such as climate change.
“We are going to carry on making that case right up until the referendum.”
East Midlands MEP Glenis Wilmot, believe leaving the EU will mean an uncertain future for workers, particularly those going on maternity leave.
She said: “The rights to four weeks’ paid holiday, the rights to maternity leave - it’s those things I’m concerned about that are guaranteed at European level.
“For me, that’s a big worry. We want to make sure that people in this country sand people in Northamptonshire, always get those rights at work.”
Some of the market sellers failed to be convinced of the Remain argument.
Trader, Samantha Knott insisted she would be voting to leave the EU in a fortnight.
“We will still be well funded and we’re so lucky because we have the Royal Family who will always bring money to England,” she said. “People from all around the world want to come here for the Royal Family.”