Call to back People’s Vote is voted down by Uttlesford councillors

PUBLISHED: 08:15 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 08:15 17 December 2018

Uttlesford District Council

Uttlesford District Council

Archant

Councillors have rejected a call for Uttlesford District Council (UDC) to support a People’s Vote, in the event that parliament cannot reach a Brexit deal outcome that will “give a high confidence” of improving the wellbeing of people in the district.

The motion, which was proposed by Liberal Democrat councillor for Stansted North, Alan Dean, was not carried, with nine councillors voting for the motion, 15 against and six abstaining at a UDC full council meeting on December 4.

If carried, the motion would have also seen the council acknowledge a ‘shift’ in local opinion, towards the majority of Uttlesford residents favouring remaining in the EU.

The motion read: “Council notes that recent polls suggest that public opinion in the district, as well as nationally, is shifting away from leaving the European Union towards a majority of people favouring the UK retaining its membership of the European Union.

“Therefore, in the event that parliament cannot reach an outcome from its current deliberations that will give a high confidence of maintaining or improving the wellbeing of local people, council calls on parliament to check again the will of the people by conducting what has become known as a People’s Vote.”

Cllr Dean also asked for the council to recognise that there is “continued uncertainty over the UK’s future economic and social relationship with members of the European Union”.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Dean said: “I have heard people say that having another referendum would be undemocratic and divisive.

“I accept that it would be divisive, but the country has already been divided. It would no doubt be stressful. But crashing out of the EU will be divisive and damaging for the people we represent. If our national politicians haven’t the courage and imagination to come up with an outcome that will not harm younger and future generations, we have a duty to put the question back to the people.”

Cllr Dean said that on December 1, a survey was conducted in Saffron Walden’s Market Square, where 90 per cent of shoppers who took part said they wanted a People’s Vote and 86 per cent backed remaining in the European Union.

Some 113 shoppers took part in the survey. Cllr Dean added: “Since local surveying like this began in September, the percentage wanting a People’s Vote on the Brexit destination has climbed steadily from six out of 10 to Saturday’s nine out of 10 result.”

WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is it too late for a People’s Vote? Send your thoughts to katherine.heslop@archant.co.uk

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