I was the member of the public who spoke against the Liberal Democrat motion at Full Council last week.
I did so because I felt strongly that over 57% of the electorate in Eastbourne had voted to leave in the referendum, having been told that there would not be another one and that the result was final.
We had a turnout here of almost three quarters, so both the Leave vote and the turnout here were higher than the national vote.
The motion supported the so called People’s Vote, which is a thinly disguised second referendum.
It has been proposed by the losers in the referendum and has been put on the agenda of councils throughout the country by the Liberal Democrat’s, as it is their national policy to overturn Brexit.
I opposed it on three grounds:
1) that it is unfair, moving the goalposts after the vote and trying to overturn the consent of the people who voted to leave.
2) that it is undemocratic, making a mockery of our voting system by saying that voting outcomes don’t count and can be changed by the losers using reruns until they get what they want. This lessens trust in politicians and in our democratic systems.
3) that it is also too late because Article 50 can only be revoked by the EU Court of Justice and requires the consent of all 27 European states before March 2019.
The Liberal Democrat’s voted in favour, citing the impact of Brexit, the difficulties of the negotiations and disputing the understanding of local Leave voters.
The Conservatives voted against, referring to the high Leave vote here, upholding the democratic process and urging people to pull together in the national interests.
The Independent councillor abstained in her role as deputy mayor.
The motion was carried at 16 to 8, as was expected.
So now we have a situation in which Eastbourne Council supports a so called People’s Vote, the voters here voted strongly to leave, our Liberal Democrat MP Stephen Lloyd promises to respect the will of the people though his party is strongly against leaving, but has a few months ago put his name to a list of 100 MPs supporting a second referendum.
Now I believe he is supporting the Prime Minister’s latest deal.
Confusion or a ploy to gain brownie points with Leave voters here?
A few final points: why is this being debated by councillors at all, as the vote carries little weight and is in my view inappropriate?
Why are Leave voters being short changed by Liberal Democrat councillors and treated as if they were ignorant of the impact of their vote?
Why is there so little respect for the democratic process and the consent of the people?
I knew when I voted to leave that it would be a very difficult process and that the EU would seek to obstruct and punish us to make sure that no other member states would seek to leave.
All this has been borne out in the past two years.
It has not changed my mind, it has not made me regret my vote and I am glad we are leaving.
Many people I have spoken to have changed from Remain to Leave in the light of our contemptuous treatment by the EU.
That is why I asked to speak to the Full Council and I was glad of being given that opportunity, even though the numbers guaranteed that the motion would be carried.