Newsletter - 23 November 2018
Dear Member or Supporter
LB Brent will consider a motion at the 26 November council. The meeting will first consider a paper by officers on the implications of Brexit for the borough. Later, the first of the motions for debate has been put down by the ruling Labour group. It would "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.". A good motion if it passes. I ask all of you who live in the borough to write to your councillors both to ask that the meeting be conducted in a way that ensures that motions are heard and that the motion passes.
LB Southwark will debate a motion in full council on 28 November. The text of the motion is good: "the people of Southwark should have ... an opportunity to vote on the final deal, including the option to remain in the EU." It has been put down by councillors from the minority Liberal Democrats. I would expect Labour to wish to amend the motion. But I do not know whether their amendments will be constructive (e.g. calling for more to be done to help the poor) or not. You will be able to check for amendments by looking at the agenda page. EM South Southwark has asked for a deputation of residents to be allowed to address the Council. I ask that resident members write to your councillors urging that a motion be passed that is against any Brexit and showing how a general election cannot resolve Brexit.
Sadly LB Newham have no motion on their agenda for their Council meeting on 26 November, unless it is taken as an emergency item. London4Europe have written but it is only local constituents' letters that count. Do please write to the directly elected mayor and to your councillors and ask them to put down a motion for the Council meeting on 10 December 2018.
Sadly, LB Harrow ruling Labour group have no plan for a motion at the Council meeting 29 November, unless they change their mind and take it as an emergency item. The next chance for a Council debate is not until 28 February - too late. So perhaps that reflects a lack of unity within the Labour party. Still it is worth residents writing to your councillors to call for a formal public statement by the Leader and Cabinet calling for a People's Vote.
I know that active consideration is being given in RB Kensington & Chelsea to the possibility of a motion being taken at the Council meeting 5 December. So this is a great opportunity for residents to affect the outcome by writing to your councillors asking for a motion not only to be tabled but also prioritised so that it is heard first. It is important that the motion calls for a People's Vote directly and not for a general election, which addresses a different question.
It is now even more worth writing to your councillor in LB Croydon since Steve Reed MP for Croydon North and Labour Shadow Minister for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and for Civil Society came out for a People's Vote in the Evening Standard of 21 November 2018. The next council meeting is on 3 December 2018.
A group of 30 City grandees wrote to the Financial Times on 22 November calling for a People's vote. So, if you live or *work* in the City, it is even more worth writing to your member of the Common Council to call for a People's vote at its 6 December meeting. Since there is a business vote in the City I ask that anyone who lives or works in the City writes to their Common Council members.
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
* 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 Hackney - Join calls 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;
- 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);
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 (no referendum motion on the agenda) & 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 (no referendum motion on agenda) & 30 January), Croydon (Council meeting 3 December & 28 January), Enfield (Council meetings 21 November (there is a Brexit item on the agenda but not a call for a referendum) & 30 January), Harrow (ruling Labour group have no plan for a motion; Council meeting 29 November), Newham (Council meetings 26 November & 10 December; write to the directly elected mayor as well as your councillors)
- Liberal Democrat controlled: LB Sutton I am hopeful that the Council's leadership will make a formal public statement in favour. I would encourage residents to write to their councillors and the Leader of the Council to call for such a statement to 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 meetings 21 November (no Brexit motion on agenda) & 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 and 10 January 2019.
This 21 November 2018 article in the Financial Times lists some of the key City figures who have come out for a People's Vote. On 22 November a long list of City business men and women signed a letter in the FT calling for a People's Vote. London4Europe has written to them asking them to use their influence with the Common Council. But what matters is the letters that you - as constituents - write to your Common Council Members.
How to Campaign
The sooner that you can get your Council to debate a motion the better to keep up momentum. The timing of the Meaningful Votes in Parliament is not clear: the first may well be on about 11 December but there may well be more 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, 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 about a week before the Council meeting.
If the next Council meeting is not until late December 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 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 (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: [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 (for example following the Camden vote, letter from L4E member Michael Romberg in the Ham&High, e-edition 15 November 2018, Page 14).
The contents of this newsletter reflect the views of the author and not necessarily of London4Europe