Labour councillors to support call for People’s Vote with remaining in Europe as an option
Labour councillors agree to vote in favour of motion calling for new referendum on final EU deal
09 November, 2018 — By Richard Osley
Lib Dems demanding a ‘People’s Vote’ outside the last full council meeting in Camden
LABOUR councillors are set to pause hostilities with the Liberal Democrats and vote in favour of their calls for a so-called People’s Vote on Brexit – including the option of remaining in Europe on a new national ballot paper.
Significantly, the ruling Labour group are not asking for a Lib Dem motion which is due to be debated at Monday’s full council meeting to include a first preference demand for a general election to resolve the country’s Brexit stalemate. Only a minor tweak will be added to the wording.
Labour members met on Wednesday evening and discussed over how they should vote in the all-member vote. It is understood that the group did not reach unanimous agreement over a position amid concerns that support for the motion will cut across the party’s national line.
But a majority were ready to support the motion, the second that the Lib Dems have tried to get passed in the chamber and coming just weeks after around 700,000 marched through London calling for a new national vote on the final terms of Britain’s divorce from Europe.
Remain campaigners hope that securing motions of this nature from local authorities across the country, but particularly in high-profile areas like Camden – local MP Keir Starmer is Labour’s shadow Brexit spokesman – will heap further pressure on the government to go back to the people. Conservatives in Camden, however, have criticised this strategy for using council resources and meetings to pick through what they see as national political story, rather than local affairs.
Lib Dem councillor Luisa Porritt, who proposed the motion, said: “I am really pleased that Camden Labour has decided to do the right thing and put the interests of our borough’s residents first, by agreeing to support our Lib Dem motion for a People’s Vote. After our last motion on the same topic failed to get heard, this feels like a big breakthrough.”
She added: “This is what many residents across Camden have been demanding for months. Should the Council finally pass this motion on Monday, I hope Keir Starmer will consider giving his unequivocal support to a People’s Vote too.”
Council leader Georgia Gould
Labour will also propose a motion at Monday’s meeting – including the call for a general election as a first preference – but it is unlikely that it will be heard on the night due to its position on the agenda papers.
Council leader Councillor Georgia Gould said: “Labour group will be supporting two motions on Monday night calling for citizens to have a final say on Brexit. We will not stand by and watch Tory ideologues push our country to the brink with no accountability.”
She added: “Camden Labour will push for a People’s Vote and an urgent election so Labour can start to bring the county together by healing deep wounds the Tories have inflicted through austerity.”