Newsletter - 18 January 2019
Dear Member or Supporter
There are 32 boroughs, plus the City, so 33 authorities. 14 - just under half - have already come out for a referendum (People's Vote), as have the Mayor and the London Assembly. It all helps build up support for the only way out of the Brexit mess that will enable us to Remain in the EU.
The failure of the Parliamentary motion of no-confidence in the Government may mean that some more Labour authorities will now be willing to back a call for a referendum without a general election precondition. However, since Jeremy Corbyn is still promoting his Brexit option and prioritising a further attempt for a general election not all Labour parties will wish to go against his approach. Nonetheless it would be worth writing to your councillors (model letter here) in those Labour boroughs that have not already debated the issue: Barking & Dagenham, Croydon, Enfield, Hackney (where a motion has been put down but it calls for a general election first), Harrow and Newham.
The scale of the rejection of the Government's proposed deal may also make it worth writing to your councillors in Conservative councils, especially Wandsworth (where Justine Greening MP is Conservative and supports a People's Vote) and Westminster (set to debate a Labour motion).
On 10 January 2019 the Court of Common Council of the City of London voted 60:31 not to back a People's Vote. I understand that the main driver for the vote was the view that this subject was not something on which the City should have an opinion. Perhaps also there was a nervousness in the City - so much of which is heavily regulated - to appear to go against the Government. A City of London Corporation spokesman is reported as saying: "The City of London Corporation will continue to make the case vigorously that a deal is better than a no-deal Brexit, which would be a hugely damaging outcome ....". That was also the focus of their press response to the Parliamentary vote. That is a rather short-sighted view. The Common Council vote is a disappointment. We have however expressed our gratitude to Sir Mark Boleat for putting the resolution down. We are also very grateful to all L4E members who wrote to their Common Council member in support of the resolution.
The ruling Liberal Democrat group on Sutton council have formally called for a People's Vote with the option to Remain. There are 33 Liberal Democrat councillors as against 18 Conservatives and 3 Independent Residents. So a motion should pass if one is put to the Council meeting on 28 January. But it is not clear whether a motion will actually be put down for that day. So it would be worth writing to your Councillors calling for the Council formally to vote in support of a referendum. Sutton voted Leave 2016 and is now probably Remain*. it is the only Liberal Democrat controlled Council in London that has not yet come out formally for a People's Vote.
The City of Westminster will on 23 January debate a motion put down by two Labour councillors. It calls on the Council to declare that there should not be a No-deal Brexit; that there should be a general election; and either the new government elected in that general election or the present government if there is no general election should hold a referendum with the option to Remain. Please write to your councillors in support, urging them to amend the motion to call directly for a referendum rather than a general election.
Hackney Council will on 23 January debate a motion proposed by two councillors which opposes No-deal, and calls for "a General Election or ensuring enough time is given for all options, including campaigning for a public or ‘people’s vote’, with a clear option to remain in the EU." Please write to the directly elected mayor and to your councillors supporting the motion and asking them to amend it to call directly for a referendum rather than a general election.
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*, 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.
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 17 January (no Brexit motion on agenda), 21 February), Kensington & Chelsea (Council meeting 23 January (no Brexit motion on agenda, though there is a motion to improve the procedures which failed to provide for an urgent debate on Brexit at the last meeting), 6 March), Wandsworth (Council meetings 6 February, 6 March) and Westminster (Council meetings 23 January, 6 March)
- Labour controlled: Barking & Dagenham (voted Leave 2016; now probably Remain*; Assembly meeting 30 January, 27 February), Croydon (Council meetings 28 January, 4 March), Enfield (Council meetings 30 January, 27 February), Hackney (Council meetings on 23 January 2019 and 27 February), Harrow (28 February), Newham (Council meeting 18 February, 18 March; write to the directly elected mayor as well as your councillors).
- No overall control (Conservatives largest group): Havering (Voted Leave in 2016, still Leave*; Council meeting 23 January (no Brexit item on agenda), 27 February, 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
- 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
And afterwards, please remember your thank-you and follow-through letters to councillors and in the local press.
The contents of this newsletter reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe