People’s Vote motion: Councillors to debate ‘shambolic’ Brexit they have no direct control over

Europe Supporters in Islington, London. 23/06/2016 | usage worldwide

Europe Supporters in Islington, London. 23/06/2016 | usage worldwide - Credit: DPA Germany

Councillors will clash over the best way to influence a Brexit negotiations they have no direct control over at a town hall meeting tonight (Thu).

Cllr Caroline Russell (Green) and Cllr Richard Watts (Lab) debated the new incinerator. Picture: Pol

Cllr Caroline Russell (Green) and Cllr Richard Watts (Lab) debated the new incinerator. Picture: Polly Hancock - Credit: Archant

Cllr Caroline Russell (Green, Highbury East) is calling on her 47 Labour colleagues to support her motion for a fresh public vote on the terms of the Brexit deal at the upcoming full council meeting.

But the Labour Group has tabled an amendment, in line with party policy, saying an election is its top priority.

Islington’s only opposition councillor said: “Obviously I can see it’s complicated for them [the Labour group] but I would find it quite extraordinary if they don’t vote for people to have a say on the actual terms of the deal.

“It’s really important that local, national and regional government supports giving people that say, because the 2016 referendum was put together in such a shoddy way.

“It was an advisory referendum and people were voting on feelings rather than predicted outcomes on their lives.

“The impacts of leaving the EU, with or without a deal, will significantly affect the lives of Islington residents and, in particular, the many not the few.”

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Islington voters were 75.2 per cent in favour of remaining in the European Union in 2016.

Labour councillors in neighbouring Camden and Brent have backed a second vote; so too have its London Assembly members. But these are largely symbolic gestures as only the Prime Minister can call a referendum.

Islington Labour’s amendment claims the Prime Minister’s exit deal has been “shambolically negotiated,” and “will damage Islington, London and the UK so should be rejected”.

It resolves to “support calls for an immediate general election, should Parliament vote down the Prime Minister’s EU exit deal”.

But states “that if an election is not called, the council will support all options remaining on the table that best protect Islington residents, including making representations for a public vote to take place, with a specific option to remain in the EU”.

Hak Huseyin, vice chair of Islington’s Chamber of Commerce, said: “In Islington we’re a really diverse borough and we have a high-transit community, so all the conversations I have with our colleagues is people who don’t know if they’ll stay. And why should they stay in a country that doesn’t want them?”

“The value of the pound and property has gone down and there is fear around, people are leaving.

“I’m not religious and I’m praying that they see sense and have another vote.”