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Write to your Borough councillor
10 Jul, 2018

To call for a People’s Vote on the terms of a Brexit Deal

London4Europe Committee Member Michael Romberg writes: 

** This blog post was updated on 9 November 2018 to reflect the latest position **

 

Successful Campaigns

In February 2018, Hero Borough of the Remain movement Hammersmith and Fulham Council was the first to call for the people to be given a vote on whether Brexit should go ahead or we should Remain in the EU. On 6 September 2018 the London Assembly passed a resolution calling on the Mayor to back a People's Vote. Soon after, on 16 September 2018 in the Observer, Mayor Sadiq Khan came out for a public vote with the option to Remain

So the Roll of honour for local authorities that have come out for a People's Vote now reads: Hammersmith & Fulham, LB Ealing (position re-affirmed by the leader after the local elections), London AssemblyLB Richmond upon Thames, LB MertonMayor of London, LB Tower Hamlets, LB Lewisham, LB LambethLB Haringey*, LB Waltham Forest, LB HounslowRB Greenwich

(* = public vote as option if no general election)

If you sign up for updates on the London4Europe home page we will keep you informed of progress through newsletters. You can read the latest newsletter here, which has more detailed information on live campaigns and more links to documents.

 

Live campaigns

Please write to your councillors in LB Camden (A motion will be brought to full Council on 12 November; we hope that campaigners can persuade Labour councillors to support both the Liberal Democrat motion for a referendum with no precondition and the Labour motion which wishes to try for a general election first), Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames (motion to be taken on 13 November), LB Redbridge (Labour group considering its position before Council on 22 November), LB Brent (Labour Group considering which motions to discuss at 26 November council), LB Southwark (hopes for a debate in full council on 28 November) where motions have been or are likely to be scheduled; LB Hackney, where the directly elected Mayor is considering an appeal by an L4E member for a formal public statement in support; and LB Islington (especially Islington! - where members are launching a second attempt to persuade the ruling Labour group to come out for a People's Vote).

As far as we know the following Boroughs have not yet backed the People's Vote. London4Europe have written to the Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat group leaders/ directly elected Mayors in each to ask them for their position, which may trigger some action. But it is what their constituents think that really matters to councillors. So if you live in these Boroughs, you can make a real difference (all voted Remain in 2016 except where stated): 

  • Conservative controlled: Hillingdon (voted Leave in 2016, opinion polls* now Remain), Kensington & ChelseaWandsworth, Westminster
  • Labour controlled: Barking & Dagenham (voted Leave 2016; opinion polls* probably now Remain), Croydon, Enfield,  Harrow (ruling Labour group have no plan for a motion), Newham
  • Liberal Democrat controlled:  Sutton (voted Leave 2016; opinion polls* now Remain)
  • No overall control (Conservatives are largest group): Havering (voted Leave in 2016, still Leave)

However, there is no point in writing to Barnet or Bromley (Councils rejected a motion) or Bexley (voted Leave in 2016, still Leave; no real chance of consideration of motion before April).

* Assessment of present status is based on Survation's borough level analysis of polling, November 2018 and more background here

Check whether there will be a Council meeting this year or early January (either Google the name of the council and "council meetings calendar" or look at the latest L4E newsletter on this campaign). If not, it might be too late (even early January might be too late) for a Council resolution. In that case ask for a formal declaration by the cabinet (or, Hackney & Newham, Directly Elected Mayor).

 

If you live *or work* in the City

The City has a different franchise. Not just residents but some workers have the vote. I suggest that anyone who lives, works, studies or has another real connexion with the City should write to their Member and call on the Common Council to pass a resolution for a People's Vote. Meetings are coming up on 6 December 2018 and 10 January 2019. Do adapt the model letter below to explain what your connexion to the City is if it is not obviously your home. You can find addresses here

 

Steps you can take

Five easy actions that you can take are:

  1. write to your ward councillors, the leader of the council/ directly elected Mayor and the leaders of the Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green groups
  2. write to your local newspaper - an under-utilised resource 
  3. ask your friends and neighbours to follow steps 1 & 2
  4. if your MP is supportive of a People's Vote, write and ask them to encourage the Council to come out in favour (London4Europe have written to selected MPs, but it is only constituents' letters that are taken seriously)
  5. tell us what you are doing and progress, e.g. commitments to table motions - E-mail: London@euromove.org.uk

A draft letter is below. The more you can personalise it to reflect your own views and circumstances the better. If you know your councillor’s stance on Brexit or a People’s Vote on the terms you can tailor the letter to that. You may also wish to reflect whether your Borough voted Remain or Leave and if Leave whether the position has since changed. 

You should be able to find your councillors by entering your postcode here. Otherwise you can find councillors and the leader/ mayor by googling your council’s name and “Councillors”.  

You can then take your campaign to a higher level in your Borough with these steps:

  • get involved with your local EM branch
  • contact other Remain groups in the borough and ask them to mobilise their members
  • meet your councillors, the leader of the council/ directly elected mayor (Hackney & Newham) and the leaders of the Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat groups
  • ask a public question at a Council meeting - they will have a guide on their democracy pages
  • launch a formal petition to the Council - they will have a guide on their democracy pages
  • street campaigning with your EM local branch or other Remain organisation

 

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MODEL LETTER FOR YOU TO ADAPT

 

Dear Councillor

One of the key issues for voters in London is Brexit.

I ask therefore that you work with the other councillors to ensure that the Council passes a resolution calling on the Government and national politicians to arrange for a People’s Vote on the terms of Brexit with the option to Remain.

You will be aware of the campaign for it launched by a cross-party group of MPs and supported by a range of bodies that call for the UK to maintain a close relationship with the EU. More information is at www.peoples-vote.uk.

You will also be aware that LB Hammersmith and Fulham in February 2018 passed a resolution that effect.  The London Assembly passed a resolution on 6 September 2018 and Mayor Sadiq Khan came out for a public vote on Brexit in September. In all more than ten London local authorities have come out in favour of a People's Vote. If all councils pass equivalent resolutions the effect will be much magnified.

The case for a people’s vote is simple. Everyone reviews their intentions in the light of new information. Since 2016 we have all learned a great deal, becoming unexpectedly expert on the Customs Union and the Single Market. We have seen the promises of Brexiters evaporate and the Government struggle to put together a plan.

Central to the case for a people’s vote is that in about December 2018 the Government will have to produce a plan agreed with the EU. That plan will cover Transition, the Withdrawal Agreement and – crucially – the Framework for Future Relations. We shall for the first time know what Brexit means.

The same people who in 2016 voted for Brexit-the-idea should be given the chance to decide whether they like Brexit-the-plan. That would be the next question in the series. And of course the option always exists not to go with the plan, to Remain in the EU.

A general election cannot resolve Brexit. It answers a different question (who should form the government?). Parties are split internally on Brexit. What began with a referendum can only be confirmed or stopped by a referendum. 

Therefore I ask that as my Councillor you work to ensure that the Council passes a resolution that calls on the Government and all national politicians to support a People’s Vote (a referendum) on the terms of Brexit with the option to Remain giving the electorate the Final Say on whether to go ahead with Brexit or stay in the EU. That People's Vote should take place whether Parliament accepts or rejects the Government's plans and without any precondition (such as calling for a general election first).

[ONLY USE IF NECESSARY: If it is now too late for the Council to pass a resolution in time to affect the debate in Parliament then I ask that the Cabinet [Hackney, Newham: Directly Elected Mayor] makes a formal public call for a People's Vote, which is then endorsed by the full Council later.]

Yours sincerely

 

 

{Give your name and street address so that they know you live in the Borough/ Ward}

 

 

 

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