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People should get another vote on Brexit, says Labour council leader

Georgia Gould says she still supports leadership's work on Brexit despite not offering a 'people's vote'

20 July, 2018 — By Richard Osley

Georgia Gould speaking at Monday’s council meeting

CAMDEN Council leader Georgia Gould has cut across Labour Party policy – and the Brexit position of Holborn and St Pancras MP Keir Starmer – by declaring she does support a second ‘people’s vote’ on Britain’s divorce from Europe.

Councillor Gould, who is becoming one of the country’s most high-profile Labour council leaders, was asked to clarify where she stood on the issue by the Liberal Democrats at Monday’s full council meeting. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Mr Starmer, the shadow Brexit Secretary, are so far not offering a second referendum on the terms with which the United Kingdom will quit the European Union next year.

Newly-elected Liberal Democrat councillor Luisa Porritt questioned whether Cllr Gould or any of her cabinet councillor colleagues had joined the recent People’s Vote march through the centre of London, a demonstration calling for the electorate to have a second national vote on the final terms of the Brexit deal being negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May and her government. This, in the theory, would include the opportunity for the country to opt to remain in the EU if voters did not like the conditions.

Cllr Porritt, who was elected in the Belsize ward in May, told the all-member meeting: “As the Conservative government’s handling of this process becomes increasingly shambolic and the cost of the Brexit become clearer by the day, it’s becoming more and more evident that we should go back to the people and ask them what they want, whether the deal being proposed by the Prime Minister is acceptable and what they voted for. And giving them the option to remain if it’s not. So in that spirit I attended the recent people’s vote march to show the Liberal Democrats’ clear position on support for such a vote.”

She then asked Cllr Gould: “I would like to ask the leader whether she herself and members of her cabinet attended that march and if so, how many of them, and if not, why not?”

Luisa Porritt was elected as a new councillor in May

Cllr Gould said she supported her party’s leaders – she is a close colleague of Mr Starmer on many Camden issues – but at the same time backed the view that a second vote should be held.

“This is an issue that deeply affects our area and we are a community that staunchly supported remain and we have a strong position to have the strongest possible links to Europe,” said Cllr Gould. “I was at community events that day [of the People’s Vote march], but I know a number of colleagues were at the march. But I personally do support a people’s vote. I think it’s important to set out that the Labour Party is a party that represents people of both sides of this debate, which is a deeply divisive debate for our country – and is doing the kind of painstaking work of trying to bring our communities together on a united position around this and I support my party in that.”

She added: “I’m really clear that I do support us going back and having a vote. I think the chaos in the Conservative Party is no good for this country and there doesn’t seem to be a clear way forward at the moment, but I also support my party and my party’s leaders’ work, that they are doing to bring the country together and heal some of these divides.”


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