Fife Council votes to reject no deal Brexit and withdrawal agreement

Pic: Ian Rutherford
Pic: Ian Rutherford

Fife Council has voted to reject supporting the Brexit withdrawal agreement and a no deal outcome.

A Labour amendment, supported by SNP members, said an alternative needed to be found.

Councillor Tim Brett, Lib Dem leader on the local authority, proposed the original motion, which had the inclusion of a people’s vote.

He said: “It reminds me of the Chinese proverb, or should I say curse, that says ‘May you live in interesting times’ because that’s what it feels like at the moment.

“We were told in Scotland alone that 100,000 jobs could be lost if there is a hard Brexit.

“We are hearing talks about stockpiling food in supermarkets, and at an integrated health board meeting, the pharmacist was talking about contingency plans being made for stock piling drugs – is this really the country we’re living in?

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“A people’s vote is needed after we were misled in the referendum and voted on lies.”

Councillor Tony Miklinski moved an amendment, saying: “I want to move that Fife Council supports the view that no further referenda, on any subject, should be held in the UK for at least a generation.

He told the council: “Two wrongs don’t make a right. When a government offers a referendum for the electorate, it’s saying ‘you make this decision and we will deliver it.’

“Anything else is a betrayal of trust in the political system and our politicians who run it. We don’t need a second referendum. It’s the classic response of a bad loser in a playground – I don’t like the result, make it go away.”

Labour co-leader of the council David Ross said: “The SNP and ourself have  an amendment that we both can agree on.

“We on the Labour side can not agree that we’re at the point where we need to hold a further referendum, although we wouldn’t rule that out in the future.

“I want to remind people that we are debating this because of the impact on Fife, not just to be part of the whole wider discussion. It will impact traffic and freight, food and medicines, in colleges and the university. There are many aspects in Fife that will have a direct impact.

“Within Fife Council itself we have at least 400 EU citizens working for us.

“We have got to recognise the result and respect it but we need to go though the process, and part of that process is that the government needs to bring an agreement to parliament, which it has singularly failed to do and bottled out of.”

SNP councillor Ian Ferguson  said he was supporting the Labour amendment, adding: “It was suggested towards the end it’ll get really tight then it’ll get better. We’ve only had two and a half years to negotiate, but it’ll get fine on the last day? I’m not prepared to gamble on Tory negotiators who have taken two and a half years to get to this mess.

“If there’s a no deal, there is no human insulin made in the UK, it all gets imported. There is no stockpile. If that happens, and insulin disappears, a long term insulin dependent diabetic has one to ten days to survive.

“That’s on your hands. You’ve done this, you’ve decided that’s what you wanted. That’s the best deal you see? Can’t go down that route.”