Should the UK leave the EU?

At 20:00 CET on the 16th June, there was an Institute of Ideas Debating Matters Competition debate on the UK’s forthcoming European Union Referendum. In association with the universities of East London and Nottingham Trent, this debate saw sixth formers from Queens’ School and Havering College test each other’s arguments for and against membership of the EU.

This event has now taken place, but a recording of the evening will soon appear on this page and a special topic guide, produced for the students by Debating Matters, and a related podcast can both be accessed below.

Theme / Speakers / Location / Topic guide / Related podcast


About the debate:

As part of the ESRC’S The UK in a Changing Europe initiative, the Institute of Ideas’ Debating Matters team has worked with the University of East London [UEL] and Nottingham Trent University [NTU] to produce this timely one-off event.

One week before the UK goes to the polls, a Debating Matters school argued against a school team coordinated by the UEL, with the teams debating whether the UK should withdraw from the European Union. Using a specially updated topic guide on the issue, sixth formers from Queens’ School and Havering College were asked to consider some of the key issues being put forward by both the Brexit and Remain camps and to make a convincing case for their own sides of the argument.


For: Queens’ School, Bushey

Against: Havering College

Chair: Claire Fox 

Judges: Dolan Cummings, Anne Fergusson & Tim Hall

This event has now taken place, but a recoridng will soon appear on this page and you can access the topic guide used by the students in their preparation for the debate by clicking here.

A podcast from a related Institute of Ideas EU referendum debate can also be accessed by clicking here.


Organisers and supporters:

This debate was organised by


In partnership with:


And with the generous support of The UK in a Changing Europe initiative of:

ESCRC logo

Related podcast:

European Referendum: what will decide the vote?

On the 23rd June, the UK will vote in a referendum on whether or not to remain a member of the European Union. The decision is a momentous one, the first time British voters will have had a direct vote on membership since 1975. Yet, the public debate about the pros and cons of Brexit has been frustratingly shallow. The aim of this event was therefore to offer a panel of high-profile speakers the opportunity to present thought out arguments for remaining/leaving and to allow an audience of almost 300 people to get involved, to offer their own views and to challenge the assertions made by the panel. The result was a lively, engaging and passionate debate and you can hear it in full below.


David Davis – Conservative MP for Haltemprice and Howden, former Foreign Office minister (1994–1997) and Shadow Home Secretary (2003-2008)

Simon Nixon – Chief European Commentator, The Wall Street Journal

Vicky Pryce – Board Member, Centre for Economics and Business Research, London, former Joint Head of the UK’s Government Economic Service and Author of Greekonomics

Bruno Waterfield – Brussels Correspondent, The Times and Co-Author of No Means No


Claire Fox – Director of the Institute of Ideas and Panelist on BBC Radio 4’s Moral Maze.


Room: USG.017 – University of East London, University Square Stratford, Stratford, E15 1NF