Newsletter - 9 November 2018
Dear Member or Supporter
Congratulations to the Royal Borough of Greenwich who on 31 October became the latest borough to support the People's Vote. You can read the formal record of decisions and the text of the motion here. It does not mention Remain. But it is pretty clear what the intentions are. This is from Cllr David Gardner, Deputy Leader of Royal Greenwich Council: “Most Greenwich residents want to have a say on their future, and democracy means we don’t have to accept this mess or settle for this miserable Brexit. We need to decide whether the outcome of this disastrous process to take us out of the EU is what we want, or whether the deal we’ve already got in the EU might be better. I was delighted the People's Vote was supported by both Labour and some Conservative councillors highlighting the broad coalition that - in whatever final shape - our future is in Europe, not as an isolated island in mid-Atlantic.". That the motion attracted Conservative support marks a real change in support for the People's Vote amongst elected Conservatives. It also means that we have reached ten boroughs (with the Mayor and the London Assembly in addition).
LB Hackney did not at its 31 October Council meeting consider a People's Vote motion. The minutes are not yet available. However, we understand that the Directly Elected Mayor Philip Glanville made a speech indicating his personal support; he had attended the great March. The next Council meeting is not until 23 January 2019. So I ask all residents to write to the Mayor and Cabinet members calling on them to issue this month a formal public declaration on behalf of the Borough calling for a referendum on the terms with a Remain option (People's Vote) and for that to be endorsed at the next Council meeting. The Mayor is a member of the Co-operative Party who recently came out for a public vote with a Remain option.
At LB Camden competing motions have been tabled for 12 November Council. At the moment no amendment has been tabled, but that might change. The Liberal Democrats have put down a simple motion calling for a referendum with a Remain option. Labour councillors have a more complex motion which leaves open the possibility of supporting some form of Brexit. It also calls for a general election to be sought first. However it does identify Remain as an option. I ask that all residents contact their councillors to ask them to vote for a straightforward referendum motion, if necessary in addition to the Labour motion. A Liberal Democrat rally in support of a People's Vote in any event will be held outside the Crowndale Centre, Eversholt Street, NW1 at 18.00; all anti-Brexit campaigners welcome;
RB Kingston upon Thames will take a motion calling for a referendum with a Remain option at the State of the Borough debate on Brexit on 13 November. An L4E Member has submitted a public question - please support him and the councillors who are in favour by attending the debate which looks interesting. Full set of papers here.
The Survation borough level analysis of opinion polls of estimated Brexit support is now available here. Under its figures, only Bexley and Havering are still Leave boroughs. Since Best for Britain's August 2018 analysis, Barking & Dagenham is shown to have probably become Remain, while Hillingdon and Sutton are confirmed as Remain. These are messages that you can send to your councillors in these boroughs. As usual, you need to allow for a margin of error on opinion polls.
Roll of Honour
Gold: for local authorities that have come out for a People's Vote on any deal/ a bad deal and normally explicitly with a Remain option: LB Hammersmith & Fulham, LB Ealing* (position re-affirmed by the leader after the local elections), London Assembly*, LB Richmond upon Thames, LB Merton, Mayor of London, LB Tower Hamlets, LB Lewisham, LB Lambeth, LB Waltham Forest, LB Hounslow*, RB Greenwich*
* Explicit Remain option not formally part of resolution
Bronze: For the local authority that has come out for all options to be on the table including a public vote if there is no general election and with no commitment to Remain being an option: LB Haringey
Active Campaigns in the Boroughs
Please write to your councillors (model letter in the blog) in these Boroughs where we know that a People's Vote motion is being promoted for consideration:
- LB Brent - Labour Group considering which motions to discuss at 26 November council;
- 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 (Council meeting 6 December);
- LB Redbridge - Labour group considering its position before Council on 22 November following an initiative taken by an L4E member in a ward Labour meeting;
- LB Southwark - hopes for a debate in full council on 28 November.
Please also write to your ward councillors in these Boroughs. As far as we know, they have not yet backed the People's Vote and there is no active consideration of doing so (all boroughs voted Remain in 2016 except where stated; dates of full council meetings to January 2019):
- Conservative controlled: Hillingdon (Voted Leave in 2016, now Remain*; Council meetings 22 November & 17 January), Kensington & Chelsea (Council meeting 5 December & 23 January), Wandsworth (Council meeting 5 December) and Westminster (Council meeting 23 January)
- Labour controlled: Barking & Dagenham (voted Leave 2016; now probably Remain*; Assembly meetings 21 November & 30 January), Croydon (Council meeting 3 December & 28 January), Enfield (Council meetings 21 November & 30 January), Harrow (ruling Labour group have no plan for a motion; Council meeting 29 November), Newham (Council meetings 26 November & 10 December)
- Liberal Democrat controlled: Sutton (voted Leave 2016; now Remain*; Council meetings 12 November (nothing on the agenda) & 28 January). It is disappointing that Sutton is the only Liberal Democrat council not to have tabled a motion to come out for a Public Vote. Residents and any London Liberal Democrats are encouraged to call on Sutton's Council Leader to come out formally for a PV with endorsement at the January Council meeting.
- No overall control (Conservatives largest group): Havering (Voted Leave in 2016, still Leave*; Council meetings 21 November & 23 January)
How to Campaign
The sooner that you can get your Council to debate a motion the better to keep up momentum. However, the timing of the Meaningful Vote in Parliament is slipping from November to December/ January. So even if the earliest meeting at which you could obtain a debate in full Council is not until January it would still be worth campaigning, though better now as January and especially late January might well be too late. Remember that motions normally need to be listed at least one week before Council meetings, and that party groups decide voting in policy in meetings up to 2 weeks before the Council meeting.
If the next Council meeting is not until January or later you could ask that the Leader (Directly Elected Mayor in the case of Hackney and Newham) and Cabinet issue a formal public declaration on behalf of the Council which should be endorsed by the full Council at its next meeting.
- write to your ward councillors (model letter in the blog), the leader of the council and the leaders of the Green, Labour and Liberal Democrat groups
- write to your local newspaper - an under-utilised resource - you can take inspiration from the model letter to councillors in the blog (please send us links to published letters)
- if your MP is a supporter of the People's Vote ask her/ him to call on the Council to come out for a People's Vote (London4Europe have written to selected MPs, but it is only constituents' letters that receive real attention)
- ask your friends and neighbours to follow steps 1 - 3
- tell us what you are doing and the progress made, e.g. commitments to table motions - E-mail: London@euromove.org.uk
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
Articles on this page reflect the view of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe