Response to Lib Dem Brexit letter from Cllr. Ian Gillies

“I have been asked by the Leaders of the Liberal Democratic and Green Groups, on behalf of the Conservative Group, to endorse a letter in advance of the Executive Meeting on Thursday to the City’s M.P.’s and Government Ministers.

For clarity, the resolutions detailed in the motion are:

  • That the current rights of EU citizens living in York and the UK should always be fully protected and that the Council lobby to ensure these are maintained.
  • To call on the Government to abandon any plans for a No-Deal Brexit, and to give the British people a final say on the deal.
  • To call on the Council to step up city-wide Brexit preparations including practical arrangements to support local businesses as well as EU citizens living or working in York.

My Group will reject the invitation as we reject the accuracy of their various statements and also view them as relentlessly negatively talking the city and country down.

On the resolutions:

1. We support rights for EU citizens living here and welcome the government’s early unilateral guarantee to them. We regret the EU did not give a reciprocal guarantee for UK citizens living in the EU.

2. We want CYC to work on local matters not national posturing but believe the government must prepare for no deal. The Greens and Lib Dems oppose leaving without a deal and also oppose any deal, which is clearly in defiance of democracy.

3. It is not clear what this ‘step up’ is. Executive already is making preparations as appropriate and does not routinely seek other groups’ written approval for their normal business.

It must be challenging having only 12 out of 650 Members of Parliament between the two groups, but this tactic, along with the failed attempt for a motion at last weeks Full Council is opportunistic and shallow. Whilst having differing individual opinions, I and my group support the democratic vote of the people that took place in 2016, and we look forward to Parliament achieving an equitable deal, in line with the decision of the majority of the British electorate, to leave the European Union in March.”