Marching against Brexit

We were proud to join our local MP Helen Hayes and a large group of local Labour members to march against the Tories’ hard Brexit and to call for a People’s Vote.

We campaigned hard to remain in the EU, and continue to campaign to ensure a say over any final deal. We’re proud that, as Labour & Co-operative councillors, we are part of the Co-operative Party which has recently voted at its annual conference to support a public vote. And at Lambeth Council we have made sure to put this forward – this month Lambeth Labour put forward a motion to council to support the People’s Vote campaign.

As your three local Labour cllrs here in Thurlow Park we campaigned across Lambeth urging a Remain vote in the referendum, and have received many emails and had many conversations with local residents about the outcome.

In Thurlow Park 78% voted to Remain in the EU which was in line with the average across Lambeth where 79% voted to Remain – the highest level of support for Remain in mainland Britain.

The outcome of the referendum continues to raise a large number of complex questions but in particular the issue surrounding the 1000s of EU citizens living in Lambeth. While the Leader of the Council Lib Peck and the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan, have issued statements strongly defending their rights to reside in the UK after Britain leaves the EU, we were disappointed to learn at Full Council this week that having sent ‘a joint letter to the Government with 21 other Local Authorities back in November 2016 urging the Government to guarantee the rights of EU citizens Lambeth Council has still not received any response’.

Please find the full exchange between Cllr Ed Davie and Leader of the Council Cllr Lib Peck below;

Future of EU citizens in Lambeth  

Cllr. Ed Davie – Can  the  leader  provide  Council  with  an  update  on  any  communications  received  from  the government  advising  councils  on  how  to  cope  with  the  impact  of  Brexit  or  any  specific guarantees  the  borough  has  been  given  about  the  future  of  EU  citizens  living  in  our community?

Cllr. Lib Peck – Despite written communications from Lambeth Council to the government, including from the Leader of the Council in a joint letter with 21 other London council leaders to the Prime Minister in  November  urging  her  to  guarantee  the  rights  of  EU  citizens,  Lambeth  council  has  not received any response from the government. While we welcome the step forward in the Brexit negotiations that offered some reassurance to EU citizens, many people are still extremely worried that the agreement does not guarantee sufficient rights for existing residents, that the rights are time limited and are not clear on who will qualify, as the campaign group 3 Million has made clear.

We have argued consistently as a council that this government should have acted immediately to guarantee EU citizens’ rights after the referendum and that it is disgraceful to use people as a bargaining chip in negotiations. We will continue to fight for their rights and make clear that a Labour government would absolutely guarantee the rights of our friends and neighbours on day one.

On the wider issue of Brexit, the government has offered no guarantees about EU funding that funds vital programmes in our borough, particularly in relation to employment.

Ahead of Full Council tomorrow evening here is Cllr Fred Cowell’s exchange during the last Council meeting in October 2016 where he asked the Leader of the Council what plan there was locally to handle the impact of Brexit within Lambeth. 

Cllr Cowell went on to say that central government seems to have little by way of a plan to help local authorities with the impact of Brexit. The LGA has alerted the government to the £5.3 billion that has been allocated through the European Social fund across the UK, including £750 000 here in Lambeth all which is being spent promoting social inclusion and providing employment support for those furthest fro the job market, all of which is set to disappear.  

In closing Cllr Cowell gave the example that in Thurlow Park, much like across the rest of the borough, 4 out of 5 residents voted to Remain in the EU and given that it is not clear why the most vulnerable of Lambeth should suffer post Brexit. 

In response the Leader of Lambeth Council, Cllr Lib Peck, said that she was working with other council leaders to devise a lobby strategy to ensure that communities such as Lambeth don’t suffer when Britain leaves the EU.