Cornwall Council have voted in favour of a second Brexit referendum, in front of a full council meeting, today.
The council has voted to support a people’s vote with 47 councillor’s votes in favour, with 40 votes against, whilst a further four abstained from voting.
The motion, which had been put forward by Malcom Brown, the leader of the Liberal Democrat group in Cornwall Council, whilst also raising concerns to the council about the detrimental impact that Brexit could have upon the county’s economy.
The vote comes following recent reports that public opinion has changed since the Brexit vote with a large percentage decrease in those supporting Brexit within the county.
Ahead of the vote, leader of the Liberal Democrat party, Sir Vince Cable, paid a visit to Cornwall to help drum up support for a people’s vote, something that he has been championing a lot within recent weeks.
Speaking about voters to Truthfal reporter Allie Guy, Cable stated: “The hard-core we can’t do anything about. But, there are millions of people who are much more open-minded and voted because they wanted to protest something the government was doing and didn’t like what the government two-years ago and they have been left behind, ignored, misunderstood and we’ve got to listen to them and try and address their grievances. “
In doing this, the leader of the Liberal Democrat party is hoping to change opinions on Brexit within the county.
However, across much of the United Kingdom, as well as in government and Parliament, Theresa May’s current Brexit deal had been heavily refuted. With many people highlighting concerns amongst law, healthcare and trading tariffs within the agreement.
Within Cornwall itself, Sarah Newton, MP for Truro and Falmouth, has beenthe only MP in Cornwall publicly showing support for the Prime minister’s proposed agreement. Whilst Sheryl Murray, Conservative MP for South East Cornwall handed in a letter of no confidence to the 1922 Committee, formerly known as the Conservative Private Members’ Committee.
Despite this, last week, ahead of the vote in council, the Cornwall Chamber of Commerce urged other MP’s to join Newton in supporting May’s deal as businesses in the county could no longer deal with ambiguity and instead need clarity.
This is a view which is supported by many. Chris, a holiday maker visiting Cornwall from South Cambridgeshire stated: “Coming from an industrial background, it’s always in the best interest to come to some kind of an agreement. I think, dare I say, Trump has the right idea do it and then see what everybody else has got to say, he’s showing the way by saying to Canada, Mexico, China, that this is what America wants. Why can’t we say this is what the UK wants and just do it?”
Although this is not a viewpoint shared by Councillor Malcom Brown, who instead is pushing hard to voice the idea of a second referendum.
Speaking during the full meeting today, Brown stated: “If a second referendum takes place I am very confident that the result will go the other way and would be more decisive than the previous one as people are more aware of the economic disadvantages.”
The second part of the motion, put forward by the Liberal Democrats in Cornwall Council, also looks to retain the county’s office in Brussels, calling for them to support their membership in the Council of Europe as well as other bodies that are not directly involved in the European Union.
Speaking after the vote, Cllr Brown said: “We genuinely believe that’s the best way forward for the country as a whole and Cornwall in particular. It doesn’t look as if a good deal is going to be arrived at to leave the European Union and therefore we feel the best likely outcome is to go back to the people and give them a second opportunity.”
Although, whether there is a second opportunity or not does not seem to matter to some within the county. Speaking to Truthfal, Angie Nicholls of Warren’s Bakery, the oldest bakery in Cornwall said: “Nobody is spending any money at the moment… it might change afterwards but we’ll just have to wait and see, it depends what the government and the council do, but we’ll be the last ones to know.”
Although the vote does not mean anything in terms of government, it does show that the councils are willing to be active and try their best to represent their constituencies’ change in attitude towards Brexit.
It is yet to be seen what may occur following this result, whether Cornwall may have kick-started other counties across the country to gather another consensus as to people’s feelings towards Brexit two years on from the vote. But with only three more months until the deal is meant to have occurred, it leaves little time left for much change.