Implications of Brexit
To receive a report from the Director of Performance, Policy and Partnerships providing an overview, as requested at the last Council meeting, of the implications arising from the UK’s departure from the European Union.
NOTED the content of the report providing an overview of the implications arising from the UKs departure from the European Union.
Councillor McLennan (Deputy Leader) introduced the report from the Director of Performance, Policy and Partnerships which she advised provided an overview of the implications arising from the UKs departure from the European Union (EU) assessed at both a national and borough wide level. Whilst the report had provided a detailed assessment of the impact arising from the current position it was recognised that there were still many uncertainties regarding the final deal and its associated impact. These would continue to be kept under review, with Councillor McLennan taking the opportunity to highlight that despite the uncertainty Brent still remained open for business and welcoming to all communities.
The Mayor then opened up the debate for other members to speak on the report, with Councillor Choudhary referring to the potential impact identified on Council services should significant numbers of European residents currently residing in the Borough decide to leave.
Councillor Kelcher, highlighting his support for a People’s Vote, felt it was important to recognise the clear impact it was now possible to identify in relation to the economic implications arising from Brexit and on future generations in terms of seeking an end to austerity. Given there appeared to be no political consensus on the way forward in terms of the current deal and way in which the campaign on the original Referendum had been conducted (both in terms of information provide and funding) he felt it was now acceptable to seek a second vote particularly given the impact of the final decision on future generations to come.
Also speaking in support of a People’s Vote, Councillor Shahzad highlighted what he felt to be the significant economic difficulties arising from Brexit both national and more locally on businesses and in the ongoing attempts to tackle poverty across the borough. The views expressed by Councillors Kelcher and Shahzad were also supported by Councillor Ethapemi who, highlighting the lack of support from all sides for the current deal, misinformation provided as part of the original campaign and non-static nature of democracy felt the logical position would be to seek another vote on the final deal including the option to remain.
In terms of a People’s Vote, Councillor Kansagra felt it was important to recognise that the decision to leave the EU had been taken with it now being a matter for Parliament to agree on the terms of any final deal. Whilst there was a need to prepare for a range of options he was of the view that Brexit would end up having relatively little impact on EU citizens currently being able to remain in the UK and on employment.
Councillor Perrin felt there was a need for a fundamental review of the way the EU operated and was of the opinion that a change of Government was needed rather than a People’s Vote in order to seek a better deal that would enable the required changes to be made to both the current Brexit deal and EU in general.
As a final contribution, Councillor Maurice felt that the Government had looked to secure the best deal possible that would honour the results of the Referendum whilst securing the rights of EU citizens already residing in the UK. As with the Deputy Leader he was keen to ensure Brent was seen as being open for business to all. At the same time he felt there was a need to recognise the original basis on which the UK had joined the EU as a means of accessing the common market and not as part of a United States of Europe. He also supported the need for change in terms of the way the EU currently operated but whilst recognising the uncertainties he felt that the future economic predications were not as clear as those opposing Brexit believed. On this basis he also opposed the principle of a People’s Vote, regarding such a move as undemocratic given the outcome of the original Referendum.
As no other Members indicated they wished to speak, the Mayor then invited Councillor McLennan to sum up and close the debate. Thanking members for their contributions, Councillor McLennan advised she was keen to encourage all views to be heard as part of the debate and assured members that the Council would continue to monitor and assess the impact of any final deal as preparation for the UK leaving the EU were progressed.
As an outcome of the debate it was then RESOLVED to formally note the content of the report.