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  1. EU Referendum: Local Live page special until 19:00 on Thursday, 21 April 2016
  2. BBC Three Counties Radio's Roberto Perrone hosts the debate at the University of Bedfordshire
  3. On the panel to remain: Bill Rammell from the University of Bedfordshire and Alistair Burt, Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire
  4. On the panel wanting to leave: Ben Harris-Quinny, district councillor in Hertfordshire and Richard Patient , London chairman of Business for Britain
  5. The UK votes on whether to stay in or leave the EU on 23 June

Live Reporting

All times stated are UK

Get involved

That's all folks!

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

That brings our live coverage of the debate to an end for this evening - if you missed anything you can scroll through this page to see some of the highlights.

Remember you can watch the debate here.

Would leaving the EU impact on the 'UK brand?'

"How much impact do you think leaving Europe would have on the 'UK' brand? - audience question from Katy Robertson-Hohmann

Debate panel

"Britain has a fantastic brand and I don't think that has anything to do with the EU, it's our unique history and great traditions which will flourish if we leave," says Ben Harris-Quinny, chairman of the Bow Group, which is the UK's oldest Conservative think-tank, who would like to see us leave the EU.

Bill Rammell, University of Bedfordshire vice chancellor, is of the opposite view.

He says the "notion that we have to be on our own to be successful" is unfounded.

'We were tricked into staying in the EU'

Hertfordshire district councillor Ben Harris-Quinny is next to have his say on the EU. 

"There is a profound feeling in this country that they were tricked into staying in the EU in 1975," he says.

"I see absolutely no value in trying to trick the people of the UK into making a decision - that will be exposed in time and foster resentment."

He says all citizens should do their own research and make up their own minds.

EU jargon: A-Z guide to Brussels-speak

Confused by all the Brussels-speak in the news? 

From acquis communautaire to zero sum game - here's a glossary to demystify commonly-used EU jargon words and acronyms.


Mobile phone roaming charge cap: Did the EU help?

In making the case to stay in the EU, vice chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire Bill Rammell cited the example of the EU's cap on mobile phone roaming charges.

"We couldn't have struck a deal as a single state," he says.

But businessman Richard Patient refutes the claim and says the EU is taking credit for a "global agreement" that was already in place.

EU leave concerns are 'scaremongering'

"There's an awful lot of scaremongering," says Richard Patient, London chairman of Business for Britain.

He said claims that things like the price of budget airline flights would rise were unfounded.

'Uncertainty' of EU exit would be 'disastrous'

Bill Rammell, who also wants to stay in the EU, speaks of the "enormous concerns" an exit from the EU could have on trade.

"A period of uncertainty would be disastrous," he said.

'Best for businesses and jobs to stay in'

Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire Alistair Burt, who wants to remain in the EU, says the UK's exit would spell uncertainty for the country. 

"No matter what organisation in this country or abroad you go to, they say it's best for trades and jobs and businesses to stay in as we don't know what will happen if we leave," he said.

Have your say: 'EU in trouble because of its own actions'

We're getting some comments relating to the debate on the BBC Three Counties Facebook page.

Steve Boothby writes: "The EU is only in trouble because of it's own actions. I hear all the time that it is not perfect but it's better than a fictional alternative, There is absolutely no appetite in the EU for any kind of reform." 

What do you think? Join in the debate on the Facebook page.

'We can do deals out of the EU', says panel member

Lorraine Parkinson asks the panel: "What do you think will be the effect on UK trade abroad if Brexit?"

Ben Harris-Quinny says: "We'll be able to make bilateral trade agreements with anyone across the world."

He says small and medium sized businesses drive this country and they do better out of the EU.

Live stream of the debate on our Facebook page

We're streaming live coverage of tonight's debate on the BBC Three Counties Facebook page. You can watch it here.


Could out vote reignite Scottish debate?

Next comes a question from Lesley Lawrence, who asks: "Might an 'out' vote re-ignite the Scottish Independence debate and result in the breakup of the UK?"

Alistair Burt responds: "Yes, Scotland is very likely to vote to remain in the EU. Yes the UK is under threat if they vote to leave."

Ben Harris-Quinny is next up: "I think the opposite. We've already had the Scottish referendum, I don't think a leader would want another to be held."

Bill Rammell says: "Look at the opinion polls, the Scots are overwhelming in favour of the EU - so there is a risk."

Richard Patient agrees with Mr Harris-Quinny: "Ben is absolutely right, the government is very unlikely to give another referendum to the Scottish. Oil revenues have dipped so it's unlikely they'd want to leave."  

Government leaflets 'propaganda'

Reacting to a question about the government's leaflets sent to houses across the UK, Ben Harris-Quinny, who is arguing to leave the EU, calls them "propaganda".

Migration 'puts great pressure on resources'

Richard Patient, arguing to leave, says: "Migration puts great pressure on our resources and we want control of that.

"With control we can let in the best and brightest."

Bill Rammell, who is arguging to remain, responds: "We need migration, care homes wouldn't function without migration. It makes our economy stronger"

UK has 'one of the strongest economies in EU'

Alistair Burt, arguing to remain, says: "Free movement will continue if we stay in EU.

"If you don't wish to keep single trade then that movement will stop.

"We have one of the strongest economies in the EU and people want to come here to work for us."

'We can't cope with influx', says panel member

Ben Harris-Quinny, arguing to leave, responds to the question about how the UK could deal with an influx of workers from other countries.

"Short answer is, we're not," he says.

"As a councillor, I see increasing demands on local infrastructure and this is in rural Hertfordshire.

"Brexit would give us more control, the only way we can get control of immigration is to leave EU."

EU Referendum debate: First audience question

Josie Chamberlain is first to ask a question to the panel: "The UK minimum wage is very attractive to those countries such as Romania with very low minimum wages, how are we as a country going to be able to deal with the influx of workers from other countries?"

And we're off...

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The debate has officially begun, the first question comes from audience member Josie.

Debate panel

Panel seated ready for debate to begin

The panel are seated ready for the debate to begin with BBC Three Counties Radio's Roberto Perrone as host.

Debate panel
Uni of Beds

What is a referendum?

A referendum is basically a vote in which everyone (or nearly everyone) of voting age can take part, normally giving a "Yes" or "No" answer to a question. 

Whichever side gets more than half of all votes cast is considered to have won.

UK and EU flags

EU Referendum panel: Ben Harris-Quinny

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Making up the last of our panel members tonight is Ben Harris-Quinny, who's a district councillor in Hertfordshire.

Ben Harris-Quinny

Mr Harris-Quinny, chairman of the Bow Group, which is the UK's oldest Conservative think-tank, would like to see us leave the EU.

EU Referendum panel: Bill Rammell

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

The second panel member who wants the UK to stay in the European Union is former minister Bill Rammell.

Bill Rammell

Bill Rammell is the vice chancellor of the University of Bedfordshire, where tonight's debate is being held.

EU Referendum debate: What topics will be covered?

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Over the hour-long debate, the four panel members will be asked several questions by presenter Roberto Perrone.

Topics that will be covered include:

EU Referendum debate panel: Richard Patient

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

One of the two panel members who wants to see the UK leave the EU is Richard Patient, the London chairman of Business for Britain.

Richard Patient

Mr Patient is also a small business owner in the property sector.

EU Referendum debate panel: Alistair Burt

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

One of tonight's four panel members is Alistair Burt, the Conservative MP for North East Bedfordshire.

Alistair Burt

Mr Burt, who is also the health minister, wants to remain in the European Union.

Reality Check: Does EU membership attract £1tn to the UK?

Reality Check

In a speech last week, George Osborne said: "We have received over £1 trillion of overseas investment into Britain, much of it driven by the fact we are in the EU and its Single Market." But is this the case?

George Osborne

In 2014 an estimated £1.034 trillion was invested in the UK, according to the Office for National Statistics. Normally this involves a foreign company investing in a business or assets in the UK. This figure is the total amount of overseas money invested in the UK, not the amount invested in one year. It is the most recent figure available.

But is 'much of that investment driven by the fact the UK is in the EU'? Or is the UK an appealing place to invest in its own right? Read more on the this here.

The EU: All you need to know

The European Union - often known as the EU - is an economic and political partnership involving 28 European countries (click here if you want to see the full list).  

Here's a video explaining how the EU works in less than two minutes:

Why is a referendum being held?

Prime Minister David Cameron promised to hold one if he won the 2015 general election, in response to growing calls from his own Conservative MPs and the UK Independence Party (UKIP), who argued that Britain had not had a say since 1975, when it voted to stay in the EU in a referendum

David Cameron
Getty Images

The EU has changed a lot since then, gaining more control over our daily lives, they argued. Mr Cameron said: "It is time for the British people to have their say. It is time to settle this European question in British politics."  

EU Referendum debate: Live rolling highlights

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

From now until 19:00 we'll be exclusively covering the EU Referendum debate being held on BBC Three Counties Radio.

Presenter Roberto Perrone is hosting a discussion at the University of Bedfordshire with four high-profile panellists about the pros and cons of staying in, or leaving the European Union.

Debate room

You can listen to the debate on the radio and watch it live on Facebook - and, of course, we'll be bringing you all the highlights.

Weather: Cloudy but dry tonight

BBC Weather

Mainly dry but rather cloudy tonight with brisk winds and a minimum temperature of 5C (41F).

Weather graphic shows lows of 6C

Tomorrow: Generally cloudy and cooler with some outbreaks of mainly light rain. Maximum temperature: 10C (50F)

There's more details on the forecast where you live from BBC Weather.

Queen at 90: Buckinghamshire school's rendition of Happy Birthday

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

Imagine getting this reception on your birthday...

View more on youtube

Wycombe High School in Buckinghamshire went all out to wish the Queen a happy 90th birthday.

What a good rendition it is too! Happy birthday is known as one of the hardest songs to sing you know...

Bedford school changes 'would be the same even if delayed'

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

A Bedford councillor has said the move to the two-tier system in the borough would be the same transition whenever it happened, in response to parents' claims the authority was rushing the changes.

Some parents were upset to find out before Easter the school they had chosen for their children would be closing in the future and they didn't have time to apply elsewhere suggesting there should be a delay to the changes.

Councillor Henry Vann said: "This transition if we shifted it back a year would be exactly the same transition happening because it is the way this sort of change has to happen in terms of how these schools have decided to work together." 

Afternoon headlines: Missing author sightings investigated... 'Hidden' steam train en route to new home

Jane Killick

BBC Three Counties Radio

The latest headlines:

  • Police are investigating possible sightings of missing Royston author Helen Bailey 
  • A 'hidden' steam train is finally on its way out of Hertfordshire to its new Nene Valley Railway home after getting delayed in poor weather conditions yesterday 
  • Tring in Hertfordshire is the latest town where a large hole has opened up in a street

Mobile phone footage appeal after Olney fight

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

Police are appealing for people with mobile phone footage to come forward after a mass brawl in Olney town centre on Tuesday. 

Olney, Market Square

A group of 10 men were involved in a fight in the Market Square between 19:00 and 19:15 - so far two men, aged 22 and 25, and both from Milton Keynes, have been arrested and bailed.  

Investigating officer PC Steve Cann said: “I would particularly appeal to anyone who recorded the disorder on their mobile phones, tablets or any other devices to contact the police immediately as such footage could be used as evidence in this investigation."

Parents anger at change to Bedford's school system

Jessica Cooper

BBC Three Counties Radio

Parents in Bedford say they've been left in the dark after learning their childrens' prospective school was closing as part of a move to a new two-tier schooling system, which will see lower, middle and upper schools replaced with primary and secondary schools. 

Maragret Beaufort Middle School

Students from Riseley Lower were due to start at Margaret Beaufort Middle School in September, but parents said they were shocked to find out just before Easter the school will be closing in future and replaced by a new primary school - which gave them no time to apply elsewhere.  

Bedford Borough Council says the announcement was made as soon as agreement was reached and changes to school age-ranges won't take effect until September 2017.

Milton Keynes' Great British Bake Off winner creates Her Majesty's 90th birthday cake

Katy Lewis

BBC Local Live

You can't have a birthday without a cake - and a little earlier today the Queen cut into the one created by Great British Bake Off winner Nadiya Hussain from Milton Keynes.

It looks like the orange drizzle cake with a butter cream and marmalade filling has been iced in a very regal purple covering.

View more on twitter

Travel: Train delays on West Coast mainline

BBC Travel

There's major delays on the West Coast mainline this afternoon after someone was hit by a train at Stevenage. 

Train company Govia is hoping to have services running back to normal by the rush hour. Check the latest here.

Stage is set for EU Referendum debate

Dani Bailey

BBC Local Live

We're getting ready for the EU Referendum debate at the University of Bedfordshire later today.

Stage at University of Bedfordshire

BBC Three Counties Radio presenter Roberto Perrone will be hosting a discussion amongst high-profile panellists to a live audience about the decision to stay or leave the European Union.

We'll be bringing you coverage of the event here from 17:00 until 19:00 in an extended version of today's live page.

Weather Watchers: Purple sunrise over Stevenage

BBC Weather Watchers

It's been rather overcast today across the three counties - thanks to our Weather Watchers for keeping us up-to-date.

We just had to share this brilliant photograph from "carlas garden" of the colourful sunrise over Stevenage this morning.

Sunrise over Stevenage
BBC/carlas garden