Calls for second Brexit vote rejected by Northamptonshire county councillors

The Brexit motion was debated at County Hall this week
The Brexit motion was debated at County Hall this week

A motion calling on Northamptonshire County Council to back a second Brexit vote has been rejected by county councillors.

The councillor behind the motion, Chris Stanbra of the Liberal Democrats, said it was an ‘important issue’ that should be discussed, but one Conservative councillor said he was ‘dismayed’ that the motion was distracting from ‘local issues’.

Councillor Stanbra wrote in the motion: “Since the Brexit vote in 2016 the UK has gone from the top of the G7 for economic growth to the bottom.

“In October, a march calling for a referendum on the terms of a Brexit deal was held in London involving an estimated 700,000 people, including many from Northamptonshire.

“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.

“Council resolves to ask the Chief Executive to write to Northamptonshire's MPs and the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, expressing this Council’s desire for a referendum on the final terms of a Brexit deal, including the option to maintain full EU membership.”

But the motion, supported by Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors, was wiped out by the ruling Conservative party when discussed at County Hall on Thursday morning (November 22).

One Tory, Councillor Adam Brown, said: “I am dismayed that the Liberal Democrats should use their one motion on this. It’s a distraction from the local issues at hand.

“We had a people’s vote two years ago, and they voted to leave. Brexit should mean Brexit.”

And fellow Conservative councillor Michael Clarke said that Councillor Stanbra, who represents the Oakley ward in Corby, was ‘out of touch with his own voters’ - and pointed out that two-thirds of voters in Corby had voted to leave.

But Councillor Stanbra hit back: “The people of Corby did in fact vote in a remainer - me. I happen to believe that discussing leaving the European Union is a very important issue.”

Labour councillor Danielle Stone, who backed the motion, said: “Young people were not allowed to vote in this, and we are making a decision about their future.”

She also argued that people had come to a ‘much greater understanding’ of what the EU did for them over the last two years, and said that the ‘peace project’ of the EU is ‘absolutely essential’.