London council first in country to formally back second EU referendum

Hammersmith & Fulham Council leader Stephen Cowan with the EU flag

A London council has become the first in the country to formally call on the government to halt plans for a Hard Brexit and give the British people a second EU vote.

Labour-run Hammersmith & Fulham Council has passed a motion asking the government to 'abandon any plans for a Hard Brexit and give the British people a vote on whatever deal they end up getting".

It explicitly asks that a new referendum gives people "the opportunity to vote on keeping the many benefits Britons currently enjoy by staying in the European Union'.

The motion was backed by all 21 Labour councillors, with the council's 16 Conservatives abstaining. Hammersmith and Fulham is a strongly Remain borough, with 70% backing staying in the EU in the 2016 referendum.

Council leader Stephen Cowan said: "Brexit will be the critical factor influencing how our children and grandchildren will live for decades to come.

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"If the government is so confident that what it negotiates will be better than being in the EU then it should put the deal before the British people in a second vote with the option of staying in the EU.

"It's 19 months since the referendum. Few people voted to see the madness of a government spending £50bn on a Brexit - which is now clearly hugely damaging to our economy - while our NHS is being starved of vital funds.

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"Many businesses and residents in our part of London view the future with huge uncertainty. That's not good for them and certainly not good for those of us looking to attract more high quality new jobs for Londoners".

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