The councillors of the City of London Corporation have overwhelmingly voted against supporting a second Brexit referendum. This comes as the House of Commons wrangles over how to proceed in the imminent event that it votes against the deal of the Prime Minister next week.
Today, the historic legislative body of the Square Mile, the court of common council, debated a motion that was presented by councillor Sir Mark Boleat on whether it should “support the holding of a referendum on the terms of Britain’s exit from the European Union with the electorate being given a choice that includes remaining in the European Union.”
In a deliberation that ran over the usual time limit, 31 councillors voted in favour of the said motion and 60 went against it.
Catherine McGuinness, the chairperson of the policy and resources committee, said that while she was “concerned as any member of this court at the sorry state of Brexit preparations.” The Corporation had not received any direction from trade or business associations to advocate for a second Brexit referendum.
She said that the Corporation has a “special voice” in the City since it spoke “on the basis of pragmatism, not politics.”
She added: “If this motion is passed, our credibility will be diminished just at a time when we have even more difficult messages to convey and when it becomes even more important for us to speak out for London.”
However, Tom Sleigh, the deputy of McGuinness, disagreed. He stated: “I disagree fundamentally … that this is a party political issue.”
He added: “This is an issue that affects the Square Mile more than any other. And the idea that we shouldn’t have a view on this is to me, beyond fallacious. This goes to the heart of who we are.”
A spokesperson for the City of London Corporation stated: “The City of London Corporation will continue to make the case vigorously that a deal is better than a no-deal Brexit, which would be a hugely damaging outcome for households and businesses on both sides of the Channel.”
The said vote came a day after a leading economist at JP Morgan warned that delaying Brexit or extending Article 50 would become “the worst case scenario” for markets, given the further uncertainty that it would create.