News release from 28/09/2018

Council calls for People’s Vote on Brexit terms

Council calls for People’s Vote on Brexit terms

Calls for a People’s Vote on the terms of Britain leaving the EU have been backed by South Cambridgeshire District Councillors.

A motion tabled during the Full Council meeting yesterday (Thursday 27 September) stated that ‘the Council believes that the interests of its residents would be best protected by a referendum on the terms of leaving the European Union with the possibility of rescinding article 50 and remaining in the EU.’

The motion was backed by 28 Councillors, with 11 voting against it and two abstaining. As a result, the motion passed.

During the 2016 referendum, 60.2% of voters in South Cambridgeshire voted to remain in the EU, with 39.8% backing leave. The motion states that a number of letters have been received by Council members asking for the authority to support the campaign for a people’s vote on any final deal, or no deal, with the alternative to remain in the EU.

Following the passing of the motion, the Council will now write to the two MPs covering the South Cambridgeshire District Council area, Heidi Allen and Lucy Frazer, asking them to also support this campaign. 

The motion debated by Councillors at the meeting noted that there are a large number of non-UK EU nationals living in the district, whose life, and that of their UK-national families, has been destabilised by uncertainty following the vote. It also adds that, apart from the social impacts, this has resulted in the loss of staff by local businesses and the NHS.

Councillors are now calling on the Government to commit to a vote on whether to accept the proposed withdrawal arrangements, or to retain, as the motion states, the ‘many benefits residents currently enjoy by staying in the European Union’.

Cllr Dr. Martin Cahn, member for Histon and Impington ward, said: “It is very clear that negotiations following the vote to leave the EU have progressed incredibly slowly. We still don’t have a clear picture on what any final deal might look like, and there are obvious divisions among those who voted to leave. There’s also a lack of support among MPs for the Government’s so-called ‘Chequers proposals’. Because of all of this, it’s clear that there’s uncertainty about whether any final deal will have enough support to carry it through Parliament. I’m therefore very pleased that my fellow Councillors have agreed to back my motion and send a signal that South Cambridgeshire wants a second referendum. I look forward to continuing to press this case.”

Council Leader, Cllr Bridget Smith, added: “During our election campaign earlier this year, we heard loud and clear on doorsteps across South Cambridgeshire that residents are deeply concerned about the impact of Brexit. That’s why one of my Lib Dem administration’s first acts was to establish a Brexit working group, which is now working with local groups and businesses that will be negatively impacted by leaving the EU. I was therefore pleased to support this motion and think that it presents a united front on South Cambridgeshire’s current views on how damaging leaving the EU will be for Britain.”

The full text of the motion backed by Councillors can be found on this part of our website. It is item 15b on the agenda for yesterday's Full Council meeting.