Liberal Democrat Cllr Peter Lidstone submitted a motion to Tunbridge Wells Borough Council, calling on the council to note ‘concern about the damaging effects’ of leaving the European Union and ‘poor progress made by central Government in planning for withdrawal’.
The motion said: “TWBC supports the growing People’s Vote campaign whereby the British People would have the final say via referendum on whether to accept the terms ultimately negotiated with the EU, or to rescind Article 50 and for the UK to retain EU membership.”
Britain is set to leave the Union on March 29 next year after the national referendum in 2016, where the majority of the UK voted to leave – but Tunbridge Wells constituency voted to remain.
Submitting his first motion since becoming councillor for St John’s ward in 2016, Cllr Lidstone said: “As we draw nearer to the deadline, public mood has changed and the majority of Britons said they would have voted to remain.
“I see this as a divorce. If a friend had divorce papers, and both parties had a change of heart, who would insist on that divorce going ahead?”
But the meeting on Wednesday [September 26] took a turn when Council Leader David Jukes almost immediately submitted an amendment, which nullified the original proposal.
This stated: “The council recognises the potential impact of Brexit on local government in general and the borough of Tunbridge Wells in particular.
“But it notes that, following the referendum, negotiations on and decisions relating to Brexit are a matter for central rather than local government.”
This motion carried by a large majority, with some Liberal Democrat and Labour members voting against while others, including Cabinet member Cllr Tracy Moore, chose to abstain.
Tory members speaking in support of the amendment included Cllr Claire Stewart [Paddock Wood West] who said: “I am livid this People’s Vote has been suggested. There was a people’s vote in 2016 and we chose to leave.”