BY CALUM FRASER
Town hall chiefs have called for a vote on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations. Councillors in Greenwich passed a motion at a full council meeting to back what is being called a ‘people’s vote’ on the final Brexit deal after a heated debate.
Cllr David Gardner, deputy leader of Greenwich council, said: “Deal or no deal, it’s becoming clear that the UK is heading for a miserable Brexit which will deeply affect the people of Greenwich: “Not only do we have 23,000 worried EU citizens, but also thousands of businesses and two universities which rely on the single market and customs union, our NHS and public services.
Brexit puts our place in the world as a global, outward-looking borough – and the home of time – at risk.”
The Conservative group held a free vote on the question, and some Tory councillors voted for the motion, while the Labour group policy was to vote in favour of the motion.
Leader of the Conservative Opposition, Cllr Matt Hartley, who opposed the motion, said: “I fully respect the views of those who are campaigning for a second referendum, but I fundamentally disagree with their aims and so I voted against the motion.
“We have already had a ‘people’s vote’, when 17.4 million people including 45 per cent of voters in Greenwich voted to Leave the European Union.
“I do not believe we should discard their views quite so easily.
“It would be deeply damaging for the political class to go back and ask the same question again and again until the voters give them the result the establishment wants.”
Greenwich now joins a growing list of councils across the capital now calling for a people’s vote on the final Brexit deal.
They include Ealing, Hammersmith & Fulham, Lambeth, Merton, Richmond, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.
Lewisham Mayor Damien Egan wrote a letter to Prime Minister Theresa May asking for a vote on the Brexit deal.
In his letter Mayor Egan said: “Despite the Government’s assurances, EU citizens living in the UK are still uncertain about their right to remain here after Brexit.
It is also clear than any form of Brexit risks damaging the economy and public services, as well as placing further pressure on local authorities that have already seen our budgets significantly reduced since 2010.
“The terms of Brexit were unclear in the 2016 Referendum and negotiations between the Government and European Union have stalled.
The only way for this impasse to be resolved is through a referendum.”
Mayor Egan took part in the People’s Vote march where it is estimated that around 700,000 people took to the streets on October 20.