"This Council calls on the Government to hold a further referendum before exiting the European Union" - Cllr Ian dunnRead Now
This Council calls on the Government to hold a further referendum before exiting the European Union.
Thank you madam mayor,
Members will recall that four years ago, we had a referendum on Scottish Independence. It was very different from the Brexit Referendum. The Scottish Nationalists produced a detailed white paper describing their vision for independence. People knew exactly what they were being asked to vote for.
The Brexit referendum was very different. It was based on 350 million pounds a week for the NHS and the slogan of “Take Back Control”. Well the first has evaporated and I will come back to the second later.
There was a lot of detail of Brexit not spelled out and it wasn't made clear what the British People were really voting for; or against. We know that no one was voting to be worse off, but even today, more than two years later we can't be sure of that.
I would like to cover some of the things which weren't made clear.
Firstly Ireland. I can't remember Ireland being mentioned once in the campaign. But this is the point where vague concepts come up against the hard reality of a land border. I am sure everyone in this Council Chamber applauded the Good Friday agreement and all the hard work by governments of both parties in the 90's which led up to it. I am sure many people are as appalled as I am by the cavalier way many Brexiteers have put the Good Friday Agreement at risk. The current approach to Brexit is said to have brought a United Ireland closer than 30 years of The Irish Troubles. Did the British people really vote for that in June 16?
The other land border is the Channel Tunnel. We know how much inconvenience Operation Stack causes for road travel in south east Kent. It appears that this will be more common, with the M20 east of Ashford converted into a lorry park with rows of portaloos. Did the British people vote for that?
Moving on to what has happened, the European Medicines Agency is moving from London to Amsterdam. That means good jobs moving out of London. Some people from Bromley probably work there. And a blow to the British Pharmaceutical Industry. Did the British people vote for that?
On the subject of jobs we have the impact of Brexit on the car industry. This is still unclear, but both the Mini and Rolls Royce car plants have brought forward their summer maintenance to April next year, because it they are concerned about their supply chains. Other companies are holding back on investment. Did the British people really vote for a Brexit which will damage our car industry? One of our few recent manufacturing successes?
I said I would return to Take Back Control. For many people that means taking control of immigration. But the office of national statistics figures show that over the last 10 years non European immigration, which we have control over, has been consistently higher than European which we do not. How many people who voted to Take Back Control were aware of that?
From a Local Government perspective, Take Back Control, is an interesting slogan. But not from the European Union. Taking back control from Westminster is a much better idea.
Madam Mayor, when the British people voted to leave the European Union in June 2016, the full consequences were not made clear to them. They are still not clear. The few examples I have given show that many of these consequences are negative and not what the British people would have voted for.
The British people deserve a vote on their future based on the full facts; not vague assertions.
Once it is really clear what Brexit means in practice, the Government is under an obligation to give the British People that vote.
I have pleasure in seconding the motion.
Councillor Ian Dunn