Conservative Councillors on Barnet Council voted against looking into the impact of Brexit in the borough at a Full Council meeting this week (30 October).

Council Leader Richard Cornelius said the subject was “a waste of time” and curtailed debate on the Opposition Motion by moving to the vote after Labour Councillor Reema Patel introduced the motion. This was after the Conservatives had voted to give themselves a 15 minute refreshment break.

The motion referenced the London School of Economics report on the impact of Brexit in Barnet. The motion called on Barnet Council to introduce a Brexit risk register and to introduce measures to support council staff who are non-UK EU nationals to access legal and financial support to remain in the country in the event of a no deal Brexit.

Cllr Patel said: “It is absolutely extraordinary that the Conservatives silenced debate on the most important issue our country faces. It is because they are badly divided and can’t agree on a position with local arch Brexiteer Tory MPs. That Richard Cornelius fears open and transparent debate is hardly news, but the recklessness of the Conservatives in refusing to consider the impact of the loss of care workers beggars belief.”

Labour Deputy Leader Cllr Ross Houston said: “The LSE report that looked into the impact of Brexit on Barnet was damning. It suggests Brexit will have a negative impact on both public services and local businesses.

“Given this borough voted 62% remain, and there are thousands of EU citizens living here and contributing to our communities, we owe it to them to discuss their future. The Barnet Conservatives are deeply divided. Many Conservative councillors, but not all, support the position of their local Brexiteer MPs. Many local Tories find they cannot support the ridiculous and damaging positions of our local hard Brexit supporting MPs. The position of Barnet’s Conservative councillors is negligent. Barnet residents will not forgive the Conservatives if services suffer because the Council was banned from assessing the likely risks in the way other councils like Labour- led Camden have.”

 

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