Newsletter - 22 February 2019
Dear Member or Supporter
The formation of the new Independent Group of MPs points to a realignment of political loyalties which increases the chances of a vote for a referendum in those councils that still have meetings before the European Council (21-22 March). Some Conservative councillors - who backed calls for a People's Vote in Camden, Greenwich and perhaps elsewhere - are now more likely to back a referendum so long as a motion avoids political point-scoring; Labour groups who have been divided on the question might now also be more likely to come down in favour of a referendum. So it is worth your lobbying councillors in these crucial weeks especially in these four councils:
LB Croydon. Labour controlled: Labour 41 councillors, Conservative 29. 2016: 54% Remain. The full council meets on 4 March. So I would expect the Labour group to meet early next week to decide their stance. Labour have in the past discussed whether to have a pro-referendum motion but not done so, though they have condemned the Government's handling of Brexit. As the national political situation becomes more critical there must be a good chance that more councillors will now back a referendum. So do please write to your Labour councillors to support putting forward a motion - a model letter is in our blog (the more you personalise the letter the better) - find your councillor here. It would also be worth writing to the Leader of the Council, Councillor Tony Newman and the two deputy leaders: Councillor Alison Butler and Councillor Stuart Collins. If a suitable motion is put down, the next step would be to lobby all councillors to support it. You will be able to check here next week whether a motion has gone down.
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. Conservative controlled: Conservatives 37 councillors, Labour 12, Liberal Democrat 1. 2016: 69% Remain. I understand that the full council meeting on 6 March is to debate a motion calling for a referendum (though in less fortunate wording it is a call for "a referendum or election"). The wording of the motion is politically neutral, focusing on the core case for a referendum [in 2016 Leave had no plan; the electorate should have the final say now that there is a plan] and steps that can be taken to make the process healing. Nothing in the text should put off any Conservative councillor. The motion is being put forward by the Liberal Democrat councillor and the Leader of the minority Labour Group. I would expect the full agenda and motions to be posted here on Wednesday 27 February. So do please write to your councillors to support the motion - a model letter is in our blog (the more you personalise the letter the better) - find your councillor here. The motion is the last item on the agenda so is vulnerable to being talked out if other business over-runs. I urge you to write to the Mayor, Councillor Marie-Therese Rossi, and Deputy Mayor, Councillor Mohammed Bakhtiar, to call on them to conduct the meeting in a way that makes sure that the motion is heard.
LB Newham. All 60 councillors are Labour. 2016: 53% Remain. The full council meets on 18 March - just before the European Council. So do please write to your councillors to support putting forward a motion - a model letter is in our blog (the more you personalise the letter the better) - find your councillor here. You should also write to the directly elected mayor, Rokhsana Fiaz OBE, and the two deputy mayors: Councillor John Gray and Councillor Charlene McLean. Stephen Timms, MP for East Ham, is a supporter of a People's Vote. So if he is your MP it is worth asking him to lobby the Mayor and councillors in support of a motion. If you are not sure who your MP is you can enter your postcode here.
LB Wandsworth. Conservative controlled: Conservatives 33 councillors, Labour 26, Independent 1. 2016: 75% Remain. The full council meets on 6 March. The Labour Group meeting on 28 February is expected to discuss whether to put forward a Brexit referendum motion and if so in what terms. So the priority now is to meet or write to Labour councillors urging them to put forward a motion for a referendum with a Remain option. It is important to make the point that the motion should be politically neutral so that Conservative Remain councillors could vote for it. So do please write to your Labour councillors to support putting forward a motion - a model letter is in our blog (the more you personalise the letter the better) - find your councillor here. It would also be worth also writing to the leader (Cllr Simon Hogg), deputy leader (Cllr Jo Rigby) and chief whip (Cllr James Daley) of the Labour Group. If you live in their constituencies, I would suggest that you ask your Labour MP to lobby Labour councillors (Marsha De Cordova MP (Battersea); Dr Rosena Allin-Khan MP (Tooting)). If you are not sure who your MP is you can enter your postcode here. If a suitable motion is put down, the next step will be to lobby all councillors and the Conservative MP to support it.
Roll of Honour
There are 32 boroughs, plus the City, so 33 authorities. 14 - just under half - have already come out directly for a referendum (People's Vote), as have the Mayor and the London Assembly. They are listed in the Gold roll:
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*, LB Camden, RB Kingston-upon-Thames, LB Redbridge, LB Brent
* Explicit Remain option not formally part of resolution
Silver: For the local authorities that have come out for all options to be on the table including a public vote if there is no general election. Remain should be an option in that public vote: LB Southwark, LB Islington, LB Hackney.
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
Campaigns in the Boroughs
Please write to your councillors (model letter in the blog) in these Boroughs. (All boroughs voted Remain in 2016 except where stated; dates of full council meetings to March 2019):
- Conservative controlled: Hillingdon (Voted Leave in 2016, now Remain*; Council meeting 21 February - no Brexit item on agenda), Kensington & Chelsea (Council meeting 6 March) and Wandsworth (Council meeting 6 March)
- Labour controlled: Barking & Dagenham (voted Leave 2016; now probably Remain*; Assembly meeting 27 February (no Brexit motion on agenda)), Croydon (Council meeting 4 March), Enfield (Council meeting 27 February - no Brexit item on the agenda), Harrow (28 February - no Brexit motion on the agenda), Newham (Council meeting 18 March; write to the directly elected mayor as well as your councillors).
- Liberal Democrat Controlled: Sutton (controlling Liberal Democrat group have called for a People's Vote, but no motion has been put to the Council - none is on agenda for 25 February).
- No overall control (Conservatives largest group): Havering (Voted Leave in 2016, still Leave*; Council meetings 27 February (no Brexit motion on agenda) 20 March)
* Assessment of present status is based on Survation's borough level analysis of polling, November 2018 and more background here
How to Campaign
- 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 your 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
- 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: [email protected]
You can then take your campaign to a higher level in your Borough with these steps:
- get involved with your local EM branch or other pro-EU campaign organisation
- 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 (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
And afterwards, please remember your thank-you and follow-through letters to councillors and in the local press.
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The contents of this newsletter reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe