At Full Council Meeting on 17th July, Councillors debated a motion on a 'Peoples Vote' on the final Brexit deal. Making a speech in support of the motion, Green Councillor for Redland Martin Fodor said:
"Lord Mayor, I rise to second this motion and confirm that Greens endorse this call for a Peoples Vote on Brexit.
It builds on work by Greens on Brighton Council and in London, supported by other parties, and we are happy to add our voice in Bristol. Our party Brexit spokesperson, MEP Molly Scott Cato has consistently said a ratification referendum is needed before implementing Brexit. Increasing doubts and divisions mean this is even more essential.
Last year Global Greens and European Greens gathered in Britain and shared their concerns at the act of self harm underway in Britain. Until we know and agree the full details of the Brexit deal it seems inconceivable that we should be proceeding.
Mayor Rees, please draft this proposed letter and please include some key points:
- The national security concerns – loosening ties to our neighbours and allies - could seriously affect our security in various ways. We need to know the implications to decide if the future arrangements are adequate.
- Local Universities are also clear that Brexit is already damaging research bids, teaching staff recruitment/retention, and student intake – do we get a say?
- As an officer, I worked with colleagues across the EU on several projects, representing Bristol. The benefits of mutual exchange, collaboration, and policy influence from a cities perspective were indisputable. We need to know how these links can be maintained – or not.
Last year I helped staff with a bid to partners across Europe on a sustainable drainage project to help manage flood risk in our city, but this unravelled. We’re losing access to Horizon 2020, and the vital European Regional Development Funds. Will these be replaced? It’s well known that government policy uses competition for grants, whereas many regional funds from the EU come when the area qualifies. Which will it be?
I suggest the Mayor also contacts his party leader, not just councils, and the local government bodies: like the LGA. Bristol needs active support from the Opposition in Parliament.
At present local government and regions have a direct voice into the policy and law making in the EU with local government representation in Committee of the Regions. Local government gets a say as of right. Without that place around the table shall no longer have a voice as legislation gets drafted in London. I’d like a vote when I know how the proposed central and local government liaison body will function before Brexit.
Personally I feel very strongly about my rights as a European being taken away. My entire heritage is elsewhere in Europe and losing the right to visit, live or work across the travel area with my EU passport is distressing.
Many of us represent local families now threatened with breakup.
Our city has been enriched by its place in the EU and I hope all members will support this motion and call for a ratification referendum on the actual terms of the deal and the chance to remain in the EU."