Last month Havering Council voted to back the UK leaving the European Union.

On Friday Lincolnshire County Council will debate the same issue.

Cllr Tony Bridges, a Conservative councillor,  is proposing this motion on the draft EU/UK deal.  It is being seconded by Cllr Mike Brookes, another Conservative councillor:

“This council welcomes the Prime Minister’s achievement in delivering an in out referendum on our nation’s membership of the EU so that we can all have a vote on this vital issue.

In the ensuing negotiations the PM identified some clear objectives covering matters such as immigration, welfare and sovereignty which could form part of a revised relationship if we were to remain in.

Unfortunately, due to continental intransigence the current ” deal ” offers very little in terms of delivering a sustainable and fair welfare and immigration policy for the UK or the ability to repatriate some powers back to this country.

Lincolnshire, particularly on the east coast has seen unprecedented rise in economic migration which inevitably has put pressure on public services many of which this council provides. It has also undermined social cohesion and confidence in some areas.

It is accepted that most migrants come to provide necessary labour and contribute in many ways. However, as the EU has totally failed to deal satisfactorily with mass migration from outside Europe it is vital that this country is able to control its borders before the situation becomes untenable.

We also need to reduce unnecessary interference and bureaucracy from the EU, in order to successfully grow the Lincolnshire economy, which does not seem currently likely in the negotiations.

This council therefore resolves:

That the current EU/EU deal does not offer a good opportunity for Lincolnshire and unless a better arrangement can be negotiated, the United Kingdom would be better placed to grow and develop outside the European Union.”

Given that there are 16 UKIP councillors who are members of this local authority I would suspect the motion will pass.

Some will ridicule time at a Council meeting being spent on such a matter.

The first objection is that the motion goes beyond the Council’s powers. That is true, but given that there is to be a referendum on EU membership it is quite proper for the councillors to seek to better inform their residents on the issue.

Others will equate it to the “loony left” Labour councils in the 1980s adopting their own foreign policies and proclaiming themselves nuclear free zones. But our EU membership does have an impact on domestic policy and local local government. The examples are endless. There are the EU procurement rules which the Local Government Association concludes make it harder for councils to save money by sharing services. The EU’s role in the loss of weekly bin collections is another. We also have various EU delays to the planning system.

We will hear a lot about the importance of restoring Parliamentary sovereignty during the EU referendum. Let’s also remember the value of local democracy and how it is eroded by the EU. We elect councillors who are then told by their legal officers that they must do this or can’t do that because of some absurd EU directive.

So it unreasonable to tell councillors to shut up about the EU and mind their own business. The EU doesn’t leave them alone – so why should they leave the EU alone?



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