Liberal Democrats call on Rutherglen Labour MP to back a People’s Vote

21st October 2018

Following the huge March and Rally in London yesterday demanding a public vote on the outcome of Brexit, Local Liberal Democrats are stepping up pressure on Rutherglen’s local MP to back a People’s Vote on the Brexit terns. In an Open Letter to Ged Killen, Labour MP for Rutherglen & Hamilton West, Rutherglen Liberal Democrat Councillor Robert Brown said that Brexit was an issue which defined a generation and required a national not a party approach from MPs.

Robert said the turnout on the London demonstration had been estimated at around 700,000, much bigger than the 100,000 expected by organisers – and the biggest demonstration for many years., probably since the one against the Iraq War and the anti Poverty march.

The size of the demonstration was a game changer and required MPs to step up to the mark.

Robert Brown said:

“It is clear now that Brexit is undeliverable in practical terms. Every single aspect that has been the subject of dispute would leave the United Kingdom worse off by far than staying in Europe. Nobody voted to damage the economy, make it more difficult for businesses, harm the public finances and put yet more pressure on the NHS. Yet that is what we are getting.

The sensible thing is to say “Stop. Let’s think again. Now we know what’s involved, let the public decide since the Government and the Labour Opposition are making such a hash of it.

Liberal Democrats have campaigned for a People’s Vote from the beginning. But Labour’s position is crucial. If Labour MPs follow what the vast majority of their voters and members want, they will back a People’s Vote – and they would greatly increase the prospect of that happening. They really can’t sit on the fence much longer.

I believe Ged Killen is pro-European at heart. Now is the time for him to stand up and be counted. The huge London demonstration shows that the public mood has changed.”

Open Letter to Ged Killen MP

21stOctober 2018

Dear Ged,

I have written to you before about the unfolding disaster of Brexit and my concern about the vacillating attitude of the Labour Party leadership on the issue.

Whatever the political programme that Labour – or indeed other Parties – wish to implement, it is undermined at the core by the economic and financial consequences of leaving the European Union.

It seems to me that that the political situation is now changing fundamentally, not least as shown by the hugely impressive People’s Vote march and demonstration in London yesterday which is reported to have attracted 700,000 people, far above the 100,000 expected.

The catalogue of difficulties in just about every sector of the economy and every part of our society which is revealed on a daily basis also demonstrates just how damaging Brexit will be for Rutherglen, Scotland and the United Kingdom.

I am writing therefore to urge you, firstly, to stand firm against the truly awful Brexit deal being negotiated by the Prime Minister, and the even worse “cliff edge”, no deal Brexit supported by the ultra-Brexiteers – but secondly to give your immediate backing to a People’s Vote on the Brexit terms – with an option to remain in the European Union.

At present, we are headed for a Brexit that nobody voted for. If a deal is stitched together, we now know it will be one that is a million miles away from what was promised in 2016. It threatens jobs, businesses and hospitals here in our constituency; it will mean no end to austerity for years to come and make it impossible to bring the radical change that many of us, from our different perspectives, would wish to see.

This would not only be hugely damaging for our country but it would do nothing to deal with all the real challenges facing our local area. In fact, it will make dealing with those problems harder.

I was pleased to see Labour moving its position a bit at your recent Conference. I agree you should vote down a bad deal, a blindfold deal, and oppose a catastrophic no deal too. It’s now crucial we don’t fall for the false choice that Theresa May is trying to say that we have to accept her deal or no deal. The clear alternative is to stay in the European Union.

But it does look as if there is no Brexit deal that is capable of attracting a majority in Parliament – indeed that Brexit is in practical terms undeliverable. In these circumstances, it seems to me that the right thing to do is for MPs to return the decision to the public in a People’s Vote, against a background of greater clarity on the implications of Brexit than existed in 2016.

It will probably mean that Article 50 will need to be withdrawn or extended to facilitate such a vote – but even the Prime Minister has hinted that this may be necessary in any event.

It is clear from your earlier votes and statements that you are at heart pro-European. Could I suggest that it is now time to take a national rather than a Party view of this huge issue and recognise the growing strength of demand for a People’s Vote on Brexit as shown by yesterday’s Rally.

Not many issues define a generation – this is one of them.

I look forward to your reply.

best wishes,




(Cllr Robert Brown)

Liberal Democrats

Rutherglen South Ward

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