Tomorrow we have local elections. These are the elections where we choose who gives us voice as really important decisions are made on Brighton and Hove Council. This includes things like our city’s ambitions on climate change, care for our elderly, some key local health and school services, refuse and recycling, and incredibly important decisions on home building and planning.
Even though these are local elections I know a lot of people are judging political parties on national issues too, like their Brexit policies. I really understand this, it’s important to me too! So let me say a few words about it.
As you know, I opposed my own party and voted against the triggering of Article 50. In recent weeks I’ve also presented a compromise to parliament to solve the Brexit nightmare by getting Brexit out of Westminster and into every community for a confirmatory ballot so citizens can make their own mind up as to whether the deal is good enough.
I’ve worked really well with other MPs and parties right across the Commons, like Caroline Lucas next door in Brighton. People like Caroline have been brilliant and steadfast in their support of ‘Kyle-Wilson’ and I’m so grateful. So I don’t mean what I’m about say as being disparaging to them or their parties at all. On Brexit at least there is a lot of cross-party cooperation. I mean the following as a way to cut through all the noise surrounding the Labour Party’s policy on a referendum which has been such reported on recently.
When I moved the motion to deliver a confirmatory referendum, the SNP delivered 35 votes. The Independent Group 11. The Lib Dem’s 11. The Tories 8, and The Greens 1. Labour, however, provided 203.
We lost the vote by 12 (the PM lost her vote by 48). It is true that had some more Labour MPs voted with us we would have won, but that is my point: only Labour can the change the destiny of Brexit.
So however much our NEC or some of the front-bench equivocates or fudges the language to understandably (but in my view wrongly) not alienate people who voted Leave, the fact remains that when push comes to shove in the Commons, the vast majority of Labour MP’s deliver the goods.
So my message to you is clear: when it comes to Brexit, please don’t write Labour off. In fact, the only way we can possibly change the course of Brexit is to stiffen Labour’s resolve to accept the principle of a public vote on any deal. To do that we need strong voices coming from within Labour.
In Hove tomorrow, every single candidate standing for Labour supports my plan to deliver a confirmatory public ballot on the Brexit deal. If the country accept it, we leave on those terms. If they reject it we remain. I need those voices inside Labour to support me in my drive to get this over the line, to get those extra few Labour votes. That’s why I’ve been working so hard to support our local Labour candidates. If you like the way I do things locally, then you can imagine how desperate I am to get more local councillors elected so I can partner with them to bring more support directly into your street.
To prove my sincerity I’ll say something that’s going to get me into trouble! If either of the two Labour candidates standing in my local ward of Brunswick and Adelaide didn’t support a confirmatory ballot, I wouldn’t vote for them. As it is they do, and for this and their campaigning zeal and commitment to serving our community I gladly voted for both of them already!
I know that you will be choosing your candidates on a whole bunch of other reasons too. Some of you have contacted me to say that you normally vote Labour but this time you’re not. If you’re in this camp, I simply urge you to speak to them directly about what’s important to you. Whatever the issue, from climate change, rough sleeping, to tackling antisemitism, speak to them directly and make your decision on how they as individuals will approach the job. The contact details for the about candidate can be found here: https://www.brightonhovelabour.com/candidates/
I’m voting Labour in Hove, Portslade and Hangleton because I want recycling rates to continue climbing upwards, not falling like before. I want the numbers of council houses being built to continue increasing, not falling like before. I want our schools to keep improving, not going into special measures like before. Rough sleeping, street cleanliness, and and parking all needs more action, but I truly think our council has done a great job despite having a staggering 50%, that’s over £100M, taken from it’s budget from the Tory government.
But most of all…please just vote! Every resident over 18, including registered EU citizens, can vote. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm and to find your local one you can look here: https://www.brighton-hove.gov.uk/…/brighton-hove-local-elec…
Please share this post and encourage all your friends and family to vote. Too few people engage with local elections and it’s a shame because so much is at stake.