I MUST admit to still being in a state of shock over the referendum result and the implications for our country and the rest of Europe.

I am greatly heartened by the fact that the Stroud district voted to remain, along with the vast majority of young people countrywide whose futures will be most affected by this momentous decision, as well as dynamic multi-cultural cities like Bristol and London, and of course Scotland and Northern Ireland.

It is important to understand the deep frustration with our political system, and the deeply entrenched inequality in our country, that led many people to exercise their right to vote against the political establishment, the advice of the majority of business and the advice of the majority of academics.

However actions, whether born out of frustration or not, have consequences. And we will all have to deal with these consequences.

As a Green I am looking for ways forward. I want to see a reform of our voting system, to prevent a political class continuing that is out of touch with the views of so many ordinary people.

I want to make it clear to non-UK citizens living here, and planning to visit, that the majority of us welcome you here and appreciate the contribution you make to our society.

I look to the young people’s vote and hope that in future we can vote in politicians that are more open to rescuing refugees fleeing horrendous conditions rather than turning them away.

I want to say to our European friends and neighbours, that Greens will continue to work with you to tackle the big challenges that face us all – climate change, war, inequality, terrorism, the arms trade and corporate irresponsibility and tax dodging. We will work together to succeed and build a better and more inclusive future.

Cllr Martin Whiteside

Leader of the Green Party district councillors, Stroud