4 May 2017: a chance to vote against hard Brexit

In 3 weeks most of the UK has a chance to vote in an election. 

The 2017 elections are a national opportunity to push back against hard Brexit.  Unlike so much else that supporters and opponents of Brexit can cite as evidence of public support for their side, the success or failure of each side is measurable, public and real.

On 4 May 2017 there are elections, in England for:

·        All 27 county councils in England,

·        7 out of 55 unitary authorities in England,

·        6 large regional mayors (covering several counties and cities each) and 2 city mayors.

All 32 local authorities in Scotland and all 22 of them in Wales are to be elected.  There are no elections in Greater London. The capital will be ‘all up’ in 2018. In all, about 18 million UK voters have one or more ballot to cast on 4 May 2017 – 46% of all UK electors – to fill around 2,400 council seats.

Local elections matter in themselves. The average county council in England, for example, spends 8 times per head what the EU does. The policies of the councillors elected have a big impact in their area on economic development and public services like social care, health, libraries, highways, housing and open spaces.

Local elections also have national importance. They are the mid-term tests that, like Parliamentary by-elections, show how government is being received by the public.  Bad local election results contributed to the fall of Margaret Thatcher and the end of the poll tax. At different times, strong local elections results gave Tony Blair, Charles Kennedy, and David Cameron credibility which they later turned into Parliamentary Seats.

If we achieve the election of as many council candidates as possible who personally oppose Brexit that will send a strong message, one which the media and the government will find hard to ignore. It will point the way to what may follow when a Brexit General Election takes place- in 2020 or before.

In the “anti-Brexit” camp we can put Liberal Democrat, Green, Plaid and SNP candidates. I urgently wish Labour would be clearly against hard Brexit (or at least in favour of a further vote for the public). I implore individual Labour council candidates to come out against Brexit personally. For Conservative supporters I recognise the pull of party loyalty. But Brexit is bigger than party. Please, this time, send a message by giving your support to candidates who are against Brexit.

Every person who wants to do something constructive against Brexit should get in touch with their local election candidate. If you live in an area without elections it’s not far to places that do have them. Helping a local election campaign isn’t glamorous . But if you give them a few hours of your time to deliver leaflets, make phone calls or give a donation to help them contact more voters in a better way than the pro-Brexit candidates, then it can really make a difference. If you want to come and help me win in Faversham, Kent, plese just drop me a line at mail @ favlibdems.com

On 4 May, let’s delivering a resounding message against the hard Brexit government.

* Antony Hook was #2 on the South East European list in 2014, is the English Party's representative on the Federal Executive and produces this sites EU Referendum Roundup.

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11 Comments

  • paul barker 12th Apr '17 - 1:56pm

    The language of the 1st sentence is a bit unclear. Most of The Nations that form The UK will see some voting. Nearly half of British voters will be offered a chance to vote but only around 1 in 7 voters will actually vote, probably. Turnout in areas that only have Mayoral votes could be very low, on past experience.
    We can reasonably expect to make impressive gains in these Elections but how much publicity those gains get is entirely up to The Media so we should not be dissapointed if we dont see an immeidiate surge in our Polling fugures, the News will take time to filter through.

  • Oh for heaven’s sake – this article and the Gorton comment totally undermines the importance of effective democracy and accountability in local government. I voted remain but there’s more to politics than an obsession with the EU.

  • Gordon Lishman 13th Apr '17 - 9:43am

    I understand that a rather desperate Labour candidate in Burnley (majority of 7 over us in 2013; 4 years of campaigning LibDem candidate) is campaigning on the basis of “if you vote LibDem in the county elections, you’ll have to have another EU referendum”.

    I’m more inclined in Burnley (66% leave) to “Please remember that your vote won’t affect what happens in Westminster……….”, while taking any remain votes around. I certainly don’t want to settle for aught like 34%.

    Which illustrates the corruption implicit in FPTP.

  • GWYN WILLIAMS 13th Apr '17 - 12:06pm

    There are 1254 Council seats in Wales and 1,222 in Scotland. The comment that there are 2400 seats being contested on May 4th in the UK is forgetting all about England. More likely the author is confusing England with the UK. There are some 4800 seats up for election.

  • Michael Cole 13th Apr '17 - 12:47pm

    Hi Gordon,

    “… the corruption implicit in FPTP.” I agree wholeheartedly.

    Are you aware of any LDs who are interested in campaigning actively (i.e. street stalls, knocking on doors, etc) for STV ? If so, please let me know.

  • Thank you, Frank.

    Can’t wait to see the first Anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat paper candidate wielding a diamond shaped banner saying, ‘I don’t seriously want to be a Councillor, I just want to have a righteous spasm’.

  • George Flaxman 15th Apr '17 - 9:41pm

    I’m full of rage. A new Poll from 2 days ago (13 Apr) shows…

    In another new poll for Observer by Opinium
    CON 38 (-3)
    LAB 29 (+1)
    LD 7 (-1)
    UKIP 14 (+1)

    How in gods name can UKIP have double our figure, when they cannot win an actual election for toffee, and we are sweepinf most of our opponents before us. I’m beginning to think some of these polling organisation are fidling the figures.

  • nigel hunter 15th Apr '17 - 9:53pm

    George .I would not be surprised if they are fiddling the figures. You Govs founders are Zahawi and Shakesopeare 2 prominent Tory supporters and that is just one of them. Ashcroft is another. His surveys are more than not to keep his party on top. I would not be surprised that they ‘engineer’ the wording on the questions to suit what they want to collect. Another possibility is that the questioners look at people thinking (he will give me an answer I want) I know it is a conspiracy theory but not impossible

  • Who is the anti brexit candidate for the local elections in Brixton/Lambeth??

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