This is a once in a lifetime decision

The EU Referendum takes place on Thursday
The EU Referendum takes place on Thursday

This is my last column before the EU referendum on Thursday and many of you may be heaving a huge sigh of relief that June 23 is almost behind us.

It has been a long and at times frustrating campaign, one in which the arguments and issues have often played second fiddle. But in a way that all underlines how important this decision is to people of all generations.

Campaigners on both sides are passionate about their vision for Britain and, however tedious you have found the campaign and whatever view you think you will take, I hope that the importance of casting a vote on this most important of democratic decisions is still clear.

This is a once in a lifetime decision, and when the British people give their orders they will be adhered to. If we vote to leave, we are out.

If we vote to remain, we stay.

This week, a new piece of artwork was unveiled in the Palace of Westminster. Named “New Dawn”, it commemorates the 150th anniversary of the beginning of the campaign for women’s votes.

It is positioned so that people looking up at it will literally be standing in the footsteps of the hundreds of thousands of women and men who came to Parliament to fight for women’s right to the vote.

As Wealden’s first female MP and the 377th woman ever elected to the House of Commons, I am especially grateful that their courage changed the landscape of the British political system and of society more generally.

But we all have a responsibility to those who took huge risks to fight for participation in the democratic process, a process they recognised as being so valuable, and worth fighting for, but which was out of reach for so long.

Whatever your view, when you fill in your postal vote at home or walk into your polling station, I hope that you will revel in the privilege that has been given to you. We will see what the country decides on June 24th.

But whatever that decision is we should be proud as a country that it is ours and nobody else’s.

•The result is due to be announced at Manchester Town Hall on June 24.