City of London Corporation councillors have voted against a motion supporting a second referendum on Brexit, opting not to take a position whilst Parliament is divided over how to proceed in the likely event it votes against the Prime Minister’s deal next week.
Yesterday the Court of Common Council (full Council meeting) debated a motion by councillor Sir Mark Boleat on whether it should “support the holding of a referendum on the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union with the electorate being given a choice that includes remaining in the European Union.”
The Chair of the policy and resources committee Catherine McGuinness said that while she was “concerned as any member of this court at the sorry state of Brexit preparations”, the Corporation had not received any direction from business or trade associations to advocate for a second referendum, and she warned against taking such a position.
In an open, honest and civilised debate that ran for over an hour, 31 councillors voted in favour of the motion and 60 against.
As I set out before the debate – click here – I was one of the signatories for the motion because I when I was elected in 2017 I promised to stand up for businesses, City workers and residents in the Ward of Cheap and ensure the City Corporation fights for the best deal possible.
This means preventing the chaos and damage of a no-deal Brexit. And Londoners are clear: 72% are backing a public vote. In my opinion the City of London should add it’s voice to the debate and make clear that if Parliament remains deadlocked a referendum or revoking article 50 has to be considered to avoid a crash out.
Interestingly at the annual Local Government Dinner in Mansion House following the debate, both the Mayor of London and the Leader of London Councils urged the City Corporation, in the interest of London, to support a Peoples Vote to avoid a no deal Brexit.
After the vote a City of London Corporation spokesman said: “The City of London Corporation will continue to make the case vigorously that a deal is better than a no-deal Brexit, which would be a hugely damaging outcome for households and businesses on both sides of the Channel.”