Prospect union backs 'people's vote' on the final Brexit terms

PUBLISHED: 14:23 05 June 2018 | UPDATED: 14:23 05 June 2018

Prospect delegates vote overwhelmingly for a 'people's vote' on Brexit at their national conference in Birmingham Pic: Mike Clancy

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One of Britain’s largest private sector unions today overwhelmingly backed a ‘people’s vote’ on the final terms of Brexit.

An emergency motion was passed at the union's national conference in Birmingham calling for democratic oversight of the Brexit process. The vote makes Prospect one of the largest trade unions to officially support a vote on the terms of Brexit.

Delegates expressed concerns about the impact on their members and industries of uncertainty and the potential for a Hard Brexit.

The motion calls for several actions to be taken including an extension of the transitional arrangements to ensure new negotiations or a return to the status quo if the government’s proposed final outcome is rejected.

Prospect is the largest union for highly-skilled workers in science, technology, engineering, maths, nuclear, aviation, heritage media and broadcasting.

Mike Clancy, Prospect's general secretary, said: “This vote is indicative of the daily experiences our members are having as they prepare for Brexit with very little guidance or information.

"We negotiate daily and we know therefore that outcomes have to be the subject of a vote to validate them.

“The lack of clarity on Brexit in areas such as aviation, nuclear and science have affected members’ ability to deliver in their roles as they are expected to prepare for all scenarios. The government’s chaotic approach has put these hardworking people into some of the most difficult professional circumstances in their working history.

“This vote is about ensuring that Brexit is delivered in the right way for the country. It is decisive, bold and most importantly democratic, which is at the heart of what our movement is about.”

The debate took place after a Brexit panel discussion chaired by comedian and political commentator Ayesha Hazarika and featuring Hilary Benn, chair of the Commons Brexit select committee, NATS chief executive Martin Rolfe and CBI chief economist Rain Newton-Smith.

On the Northern Irish border Ms Newton-Smith said: “I’ve seen business leaders on the verge of tears in Northern Ireland on the importance of not having a physical border."

Mr Benn said: “The Good Friday Agreement has just had its 20th anniversary and it brought conflict to an end. It matters for peace and trade.

"We ca not allow Brexit to undo the extraordinary progress that has been made since the Good Friday Agreement.”

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