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Agenda item

Councillor Cantrill - People's Vote motion

In the 2016 Referendum on the European Union Cambridge voted over 73% in favour of remaining in the European Union.

 

The negotiations on withdrawal that have followed the national decision to leave the EU have progressed at a slow rate and the precise nature of any final deal is still uncertain with clear divisions among those who voted to leave and a lack of support among the Government’s members of parliament for the adopted ‘Chequers proposals’. It is therefore clear that there is uncertainty whether any final deal will have wholehearted support and can be carried through Parliament.

 

In recent months a campaign has developed which proposes a People’s Vote on any final deal (or no deal), with the alternative to remain in the EU, to ensure that the path taken has majority support among the electorate.

 

A number of letters/emails have been received by members asking the Council to support this initiative.

 

The Council notes that:

 

(i)  The Governor of the Bank of England has stated that the average household income in Britain is now £900 lower than that anticipated if the decision to leave the EU had not been taken.

 

(ii)    There are a large number of non-UK EU nationals resident in Cambridge whose life, and that of their UK-national families, has been destabilised by uncertainty. Apart from the social impacts, this has resulted in the loss of staff by local businesses and the NHS.

 

(iii)   Due to uncertainty about whether the deal that will be agreed with the EU will achieve a Parliamentary majority, ‘no deal’ appears a very credible outcome. This has been described by Chancellor Hammond as having “large fiscal consequences” and by independent observers as “overwhelmingly negative”.

 

(iv)   All avenues currently being considered by the Government impose increasing delays for goods at our international frontiers and no facilitation would be provided for trade in services which form a major element in the local economy.

 

(v)    Recent opinion poll evidence has suggested an overall trend in public opinion away from support for leaving  the EU and in favour of a vote on the conditions of any departure. A vote on the terms of withdrawal with the option to remain would ensure that we leave, should we do so, with wholehearted support for the actual conditions of withdrawal.

 

(vi)   The anticipated rapidly deteriorating economic situation if Brexit proceeds is likely to accelerate austerity, which has already caused acute problems in providing local authority services and has severely affected local residents, in particular those in social housing or in receipt of benefits.

 

(vii)  Evidence of illegal overspending has been presented (and accepted by the Electoral Commission) and court challenges on the constitutional position are still continuing. A vote on the withdrawal terms would ensure that any decision is accepted as sound by both sides of the argument rather than being fought out in the courts.

 

The Council believes that the interests of its residents would be best protected by a People’s Vote on the terms of leaving the European Union with the possibility of rescinding Article 50 and remaining in the EU.

 

The Council calls on the Government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and to give Cambridge residents the opportunity to assess the original promises of a seamless Brexit with minimal impact made by the Leave campaign by giving the electorate (including resident European citizens) a vote on whether to accept the proposed withdrawal arrangements or to retain the many benefits local residents currently enjoy by staying in the European Union.

 

The Council should write to our two local MPs calling on them to clearly support a People’s Vote.

 

Minutes:

Councillor Cantrill proposed and Councillor Gehring seconded the following motion:

 

In the 2016 Referendum on the European Union Cambridge voted over 73% in favour of remaining in the European Union.

 

The negotiations on withdrawal that have followed the national decision to leave the EU have progressed at a slow rate and the precise nature of any final deal is still uncertain with clear divisions among those who voted to leave and a lack of support among the Government’s members of parliament for the adopted ‘Chequers proposals’. It is therefore clear that there is uncertainty whether any final deal will have wholehearted support and can be carried through Parliament.

 

In recent months a campaign has developed which proposes a People’s Vote on any final deal (or no deal), with the alternative to remain in the EU, to ensure that the path taken has majority support among the electorate.

 

A number of letters/emails have been received by members asking the Council to support this initiative.

 

The Council notes that:

 

(i)  The Governor of the Bank of England has stated that the average household income in Britain is now £900 lower than that anticipated if the decision to leave the EU had not been taken.

 

(ii)    There are a large number of non-UK EU nationals resident in Cambridge whose life, and that of their UK-national families, has been destabilised by uncertainty. Apart from the social impacts, this has resulted in the loss of staff by local businesses and the NHS.

 

(iii)   Due to uncertainty about whether the deal that will be agreed with the EU will achieve a Parliamentary majority, ‘no deal’ appears a very credible outcome. This has been described by Chancellor Hammond as having “large fiscal consequences” and by independent observers as “overwhelmingly negative”.

 

(iv)   All avenues currently being considered by the Government impose increasing delays for goods at our international frontiers and no facilitation would be provided for trade in services which form a major element in the local economy.

 

(v)    Recent opinion poll evidence has suggested an overall trend in public opinion away from support for leaving  the EU and in favour of a vote on the conditions of any departure. A vote on the terms of withdrawal with the option to remain would ensure that we leave, should we do so, with wholehearted support for the actual conditions of withdrawal.

 

(vi)   The anticipated rapidly deteriorating economic situation if Brexit proceeds is likely to accelerate austerity, which has already caused acute problems in providing local authority services and has severely affected local residents, in particular those in social housing or in receipt of benefits.

 

(vii)  Evidence of illegal overspending has been presented (and accepted by the Electoral Commission) and court challenges on the constitutional position are still continuing. A vote on the withdrawal terms would ensure that any decision is accepted as sound by both sides of the argument rather than being fought out in the courts.

 

The Council believes that the interests of its residents would be best protected by a People’s Vote on the terms of leaving the European Union with the possibility of rescinding Article 50 and remaining in the EU.

 

The Council calls on the Government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and to give Cambridge residents the opportunity to assess the original promises of a seamless Brexit with minimal impact made by the Leave campaign by giving the electorate (including resident European citizens) a vote on whether to accept the proposed withdrawal arrangements or to retain the many benefits local residents currently enjoy by staying in the European Union.

 

The Council should write to our two local MPs calling on them to clearly support a People’s Vote.

 

Councillor Smith proposed and Councillor Baigent seconded the following amendment to motion (deleted text struck through and additional text underlined):

 

In the 2016 Referendum on the European Union Cambridge voted over 73% in favour of remaining in the European Union.

 

The negotiations on withdrawal that have followed the national decision to leave the EU have progressed at a slow rate and the precise nature of any final deal is still uncertain with clear divisions among those who voted to leave and a lack of support among the Government’s members of parliament for the adopted ‘Chequers proposals’. It is therefore clear that there is uncertainty whether any final deal will have wholehearted support and can be carried through Parliament.

 

In recent months a campaign has developed which proposes a People’s Vote on any final deal (or no deal), with the alternative to remain in the EU, to ensure that the path taken has majority support among the electorate.

 

A number of letters/emails have been received by members asking the Council to support this initiative.

 

The Council notes that:

 

(i)    The Governor of the Bank of England has stated that the average household income in Britain is now £900 lower than that anticipated if the decision to leave the EU had not been taken.

 

(ii)    There are a large number of non-UK EU nationals resident in Cambridge whose life, and that of their UK-national families, has been destabilised by uncertainty. Apart from the social impacts, this has resulted in the loss of staff by local businesses and the NHS.

 

(iii)   Due to uncertainty about whether the deal that will be agreed with the EU will achieve a Parliamentary majority, ‘no deal’ appears a very credible outcome. This has been described by Chancellor Hammond as having “large fiscal consequences” and by independent observers as “overwhelmingly negative”.

 

(iv)   All avenues currently being considered by the Government impose increasing delays for goods at our international frontiers and no facilitation would be provided for trade in services which form a major element in the local economy.

 

(v)    Recent opinion poll evidence has suggested an overall trend in public opinion away from support for leaving  the EU and in favour of a vote on the conditions of any departure. A vote on the terms of withdrawal with the option to remain would ensure that we leave, should we do so, with wholehearted support for the actual conditions of withdrawal.

 

(vi)   The anticipated rapidly deteriorating economic situation if Brexit proceeds is likely to accelerate austerity, which has already caused acute problems in providing local authority services and has severely affected local residents, in particular those in social housing or in receipt of benefits.

 

(vii)  Evidence of illegal overspending has been presented (and accepted by the Electoral Commission) and court challenges on the constitutional position are still continuing. A vote on the withdrawal terms would ensure that any decision is accepted as sound by both sides of the argument rather than being fought out in the courts.

 

The Council believes that the interests of its residents would be best protected by a People’s Vote on the terms of leaving the European Union with the possibility of rescinding Article 50 and remaining in the EU.

 

The Council calls on the Government to abandon plans for a hard Brexit and to give Cambridge residents the opportunity to assess the original promises of a seamless Brexit with minimal impact made by the Leave campaign by giving the electorate (including resident European citizens) a vote on whether to accept the proposed withdrawal arrangements or to retain the many benefits local residents currently enjoy by staying in the European Union.

 

The Council should write to our two local MPs calling on them to clearly support a People’s Vote.

 

(viii)  Cambridge voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European
Union, but this was not reflected across the whole of the UK.

 

(ix)  No-one was voting for fewer rights, economic chaos, or risks to jobs, and the Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland, and the NHS.  It is also a threat to Cambridge and our residents, the city’s Universities, health and social care locally, and our jobs and community.

 

(x)  Non-UK EU citizens who moved to the UK and are long settled in Cambridge have not yet received the full assurances they need. Similarly, the rights of Cambridge residents now living and working elsewhere in the EU need the same protections they have now.

(xi)  A “no deal Brexit” should be rejected as a viable option by Parliament.

 

This council supports the actions of the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn MP, and will continue to campaign, that:

·  Should Parliament vote down a Tory Brexit or the talks end in no-deal, this would constitute a loss of confidence in the government, and that an immediate General Election should follow.

·  If a general election does not follow, all options remain on the table, including the option of a public vote.
If the government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from, they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public, so that all options are on the table including the option to remain in the European Union.”

On a show of hands the amendment was carried by 22 votes to 12.

 

Resolved by (23 votes to 0) to:

 

The Council notes that:

 

(i)    The Governor of the Bank of England has stated that the average household income in Britain is now £900 lower than that anticipated if the decision to leave the EU had not been taken.

 

(ii)    There are a large number of non-UK EU nationals resident in Cambridge whose life, and that of their UK-national families, has been destabilised by uncertainty. Apart from the social impacts, this has resulted in the loss of staff by local businesses and the NHS.

 

(iii)   Due to uncertainty about whether the deal that will be agreed with the EU will achieve a Parliamentary majority, ‘no deal’ appears a very credible outcome. This has been described by Chancellor Hammond as having “large fiscal consequences” and by independent observers as “overwhelmingly negative”.

 

(iv)   All avenues currently being considered by the Government impose increasing delays for goods at our international frontiers and no facilitation would be provided for trade in services which form a major element in the local economy.

 

(v)    Recent opinion poll evidence has suggested an overall trend in public opinion away from support for leaving  the EU and in favour of a vote on the conditions of any departure. A vote on the terms of withdrawal with the option to remain would ensure that we leave, should we do so, with wholehearted support for the actual conditions of withdrawal.

 

(vi)   The anticipated rapidly deteriorating economic situation if Brexit proceeds is likely to accelerate austerity, which has already caused acute problems in providing local authority services and has severely affected local residents, in particular those in social housing or in receipt of benefits.

 

(vii)  Evidence of illegal overspending has been presented (and accepted by the Electoral Commission) and court challenges on the constitutional position are still continuing. A vote on the withdrawal terms would ensure that any decision is accepted as sound by both sides of the argument rather than being fought out in the courts.

(viii)  Cambridge voted overwhelmingly to remain in the European
Union, but this was not reflected across the whole of the UK.

 

(ix)  No-one was voting for fewer rights, economic chaos, or risks to jobs, and the Brexit deal being pursued by Theresa May is a threat to jobs, freedom of movement, peace in Northern Ireland, and the NHS.  It is also a threat to Cambridge and our residents, the city’s Universities, health and social care locally, and our jobs and community.

 

(x)  Non-UK EU citizens who moved to the UK and are long settled in Cambridge have not yet received the full assurances they need. Similarly, the rights of Cambridge residents now living and working elsewhere in the EU need the same protections they have now.

(xi)  A “no deal Brexit” should be rejected as a viable option by Parliament.

 

This council supports the actions of the Leader of the Opposition Jeremy Corbyn MP, and will continue to campaign, that:

·  Should Parliament vote down a Tory Brexit or the talks end in no-deal, this would constitute a loss of confidence in the government, and that an immediate General Election should follow.

·  If a general election does not follow, all options remain on the table, including the option of a public vote.
If the government is confident in negotiating a deal that working people, our economy and communities will benefit from, they should not be afraid to put that deal to the public, so that all options are on the table including the option to remain in the European Union.”