Newsletter - 30 November 2018
Dear Member or Supporter
Latest News - Motions Debated
Congratulations to LB Redbridge who passed a motion on 22 November: "This Council believes the botched negotiations to date constitutes a loss of confidence in the Conservative Government, and along with considering their position, they should take note of the ‘Peoples March’ and offer the public a vote on the Brexit deal including the option to remain in the EU.". Interestingly, the motion that was passed replaced an earlier motion put down by the same Labour councillors which had been more in line with Labour party policy in focussing on a call for a general election, something only mentioned glancingly in the final motion. The motion received extensive publicity in the local press: Yellow Advertiser and Ilford Recorder. All this began when London4Europe Chair and local Labour Party member Richard Newcombe put down a motion at a ward party meeting. It shows how individual action can bring real results. Congratulations to Richard and all L4E members who contributed to this good result.
Congratulations to LB Brent who passed a motion on 26 November: "This council resolves to ... Call upon Parliament to entrust the British people with a meaningful vote on the final deal; with options to remain in the European Union upon the ballot paper." That is a very clear call for a People's Vote. Congratulations to Cllr Neil Nerva who moved the motion and ensured that it was passed. Another councillor gave an impassioned speech in defence of staying in the EU, arguing that it was important to act on behalf of future generations. The result was reported in the local press, eg Kilburn Times, Harrow Times. Earlier the Council had considered a paper by officers on the implications of Brexit for the borough. Congratulations to all L4E members and other activists who supported their councillors in backing the motion.
Sadly, the voting did not go so well in LB Southwark at full council on 28 November. The Liberal Democrat minority group led by Anood Al-Samerai had proposed a motion calling for a People's Vote with the option to Remain (Page 29 of the main agenda). Labour however put down an amendment (C on page 10 of the Supplementary agenda). The amended motion was passed. It now requires the Government's deal to be defeated before there need be any sort of public vote; there should then be a general election; if there is no general election all options should remain on the table including a People's Vote. However, the Labour amendment departed from the strictest interpretation of Labour policy by leaving in the call that a public vote should have the option to Remain. Significantly, two of the Labour councillors defied the whip to vote against their party's amendment. Because Remain is explicitly mentioned as an option, LB Southwark goes into our silver category. Congratulations to Cllr Al-Samerai for trying and to London4Europe members who supported her, including newly affiliated EM South Southwark who formed a deputation to the Council.
Latest News - Debates to Come
The attempt by the sole Liberal Democrat Councillor Linda Wade in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to put down a motion calling for a People's Vote failed because she was unable to find a seconder in the Conservative or Labour groups. She is however still intending to raise the issue at the Council's meeting on 5 December. I ask that all members who live in the Royal Borough write to their councillors calling on them to debate and pass a motion calling for a People's Vote.
LB Islington will on Thursday 6 December consider a motion put down by the sole opposition Councillor Caroline Russell (Green). Her motion concludes: "This Council resolves to formally support the call for a People’s Vote on any final EU exit deal negotiated by the Government, including in the event of a no deal scenario, with the option to remain in the EU on the ballot paper." No doubt Labour will seek to amend it. I call on all members who live in the area to write to their councillors asking for only constructive amendments. We should ask councillors not to call for a general election - whatever the merits of a change of government a general election cannot resolve Brexit; a Brexit motion should be about Brexit. Members should also write to the Mayor and Deputy Mayor to ask them to ensure that the meeting is conducted in a way that ensures the motion is debated. There will be a rally on the steps of the Town Hall on Upper Street at 18.45 on the day - all welcome.
Two of the three Liberal Democrat councils have passed motions in favour of a People's Vote (67%). There are 21 Labour councils. Of these, 12 have passed motions in favour of a People's Vote (57%), so more than half at any rate. There are 7 Conservative councils, none of which has passed a motion in favour. One borough is under no overall control (no motion in favour). The City has also not passed a resolution. In all, 14 boroughs have passed resolutions in favour and are on our Gold Roll of Honour. So we are just two boroughs short of being able to say that half of the 32 boroughs have come out for a People's Vote. The most promising people to press for public statements on behalf of their boroughs are the Mayor of Hackney and the Leader of Sutton Council; if you live there, please write to them.
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 authority that has 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.
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 January 2019):
- Conservative controlled: Hillingdon (Voted Leave in 2016, now Remain*; Council meeting 17 January), Kensington & Chelsea (Council meeting 5 December & 23 January), Wandsworth (Council meeting 5 December - no Brexit item on agenda) and Westminster (Council meeting 23 January)
- Labour controlled: Barking & Dagenham (voted Leave 2016; now probably Remain*; Assembly meeting 30 January), Croydon (Council meeting 3 December (no Brexit item on the agenda) & 28 January), Enfield (Council meeting 30 January), Hackney (call on the directly elected Mayor and his Cabinet to make a formal public statement in support to be endorsed at the 23 January 2019 Council meeting), Harrow (ruling Labour group have no plan for a motion; Council meeting 29 November - next meeting not until 28 February), Islington - (Council meeting 6 December), Newham (Council meeting 10 December; write to the directly elected mayor as well as your councillors).
- Liberal Democrat controlled: LB Sutton I would encourage residents to write to their councillors and the Leader of the Council to call for a formal public statement in favour be issued (the next council meeting is now not until 28 January; Sutton voted Leave 2016, now Remain*; it is the only Liberal Democrat controlled Council in London that has not yet come out formally for a People's Vote).
- No overall control (Conservatives largest group): Havering (Voted Leave in 2016, still Leave*; Council meeting 23 January)
* Assessment of present status is based on Survation's borough level analysis of polling, November 2018 and more background here
If you live * or work * in the City
The City has an unusual franchise where some businesses have a vote, so I suggest that anyone who lives or works in the City should feel entitled to lobby their Council Members. Please write to your ward Alderman and Common Councilmen. The model letter is here - do explain what your connexion to the City is if it is not obviously your home; and adapt the terminology - you should refer to Members rather than Councillors, and the decision-making body is the Court of Common Council. You can use this page on the City website to find your Members or use Writetothem with the relevant postcode. There are Common Council meetings set for: 6 December 2018 (no Brexit item on the agenda) and 10 January 2019.
How to Campaign
The Meaningful Vote in Parliament is expected to be on 11 December. But but there may well be more perhaps stretching into 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. However, If the next Council meeting is not until January you should ask that the Leader (Directly Elected Mayor in the case of Hackney and Newham) and Cabinet now 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 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.
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The contents of this newsletter reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe