Newsletter - 8 March 2019
** amended 26 April 2019 to include link to minutes of RBKC council meeting on 6 March ***
Dear Member or Supporter,
Latest News - Summary
No new council resolution in favour of a People's Vote, which is what we aimed for. But a good result nonetheless: the MP for Kensington made an unequivocal public statement in favour of a referendum and Remain. If you are in LB Newham, then you have a council meeting coming up soon - please write to your councillor.
Latest News - Detail
Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea. The other business of the meeting was allowed to overrun and therefore the Council did not consider the neutrally worded motion in favour of a People's Vote, which London4Europe had helped to draft, and which was put forward by Councillor Linda Wade, the sole Liberal Democrat councillor, and the Leader of the minority Labour Group, Councillor Robert Atkinson. It is the second time that RBKC has used procedural devices to avoid considering a People's Vote motion. (The next meeting is now not until 24 April.) EM Hammersmith Kensington Chelsea & Fulham had organised a rally outside the town hall before the meeting and support for Remain in the public gallery. Two of their members asked public questions at the start of the council meeting. In response to one of them, the Kensington MP Emma Dent Coade, who is also a councillor, gave an unequivocal statement of support for a referendum and said that she hoped that Remain would win it (now available in the official minutes - see page 4). She has retweeted two tweets that recorded her view: here from EM HKC&F and also here. She had been silent on the question so far, so that statement, which goes much further than Jeremy Corbyn has, is a really good result. Congratulations to Linda Wade, Robert Atkinson, EM HKC&F and all local campaigners who contacted their councillors and rallied in support on the night.
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. You should be able to check the agenda on Monday 11 March and see whether a motion has been tabled.
LB Wandsworth. This was the most promising of the Conservative Councils. The Conservative majority is only six and local Conservative MP Justine Greening backs a People's Vote. Regrettably, the call for a referendum was just one item of five in a Labour Group motion entitled "Standing up for Wandsworth against an incompetent Tory Government" for which no Conservative would vote, no matter how much s/he supported Remain. In the event, debate on the motion at the Council meeting on 6 March was cut short and the motion was rejected on a vote. You can read a report on the proceedings here from Councillor Candida Jones (Labour). Thank you to all the London4Europe/ EM Wandsworth members who contacted their councillors to call for a resolution. The next Council meeting is 22 May.
LB Croydon did not in the end take a Brexit motion at the full council meeting on 4 March - thank you if you had written to your councillors calling for a motion. The next meeting is on 1 April; who knows where we will be then, politically? So do please keep up the pressure to call for a statement by the Cabinet. There are also some other Labour authorities which are not yet on side and which do not have a Council meeting coming up in March. It would be worth writing to the Leader, Cabinet members and to your own ward councillors asking that the Leader and Cabinet issue an official public call for a people's vote with the option to Remain to be endorsed at the next Council meeting. The authorities are: Barking & Dagenham, Enfield and Harrow. Addresses and model letter in this blog. You can check where your MP stands here and if they are supportive ask them to urge the Leader and Cabinet to come out for a People's Vote.
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* - no meeting in March) and Kensington & Chelsea (no further Council meeting in March).
- Labour controlled: Barking & Dagenham (voted Leave 2016; now probably Remain*; no Assembly meeting in March), Croydon (no further Council meeting in March), Enfield (no Council meeting in March), Harrow (no meeting in March), 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 - no meeting set for March).
- No overall control (Conservatives largest group): Havering (Voted Leave in 2016, still Leave*; Council meeting 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.
The contents of this newsletter reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe