The following letter was sent by Tony Vickers, Chair of the Liberal Democrat Group on West Berkshire Council, to all Conservative councillors on that Council on Friday 6 September. With his permission, we’re reproducing it here verbatim.
Dear fellow councillor,
Many of the Opposition members of the Liberal Democrats have written to thank Richard Benyon for the stance he took on Tuesday this week in Parliament, helping to stop a NO DEAL BREXIT. Some of them who are aware of the Motion that Lee has submitted for debate at Full Council next week have also asked me, as our Group Chair, to write to all Conservative councillors and ask you to do the same: vote in support of the Motion.
We realise that Mr Benyon (quoted in the NWN today) “is not in the same place” as most of the opposition locally as expressed in the “Defend Democracy” march last Saturday. He does not – and your Party does not – currently support a Peoples Vote (confirmatory referendum). Hence ‘2.d’ in the Motion may cause you some difficulty.
However one of your former colleagues who – like Richard and many of you, supported the REMAIN camp – has said that she feels that the only other way to prevent NO DEAL would be to simply Revoke Article 50. Whilst that is indeed an option, surely it is more democratic to put the IN/OUT question back to the People, as Liberal Democrats have said all along? Now that we know what the options are (i.e. the Deal the previous Conservative Government took over two years to negotiate, or a NO DEAL) we hope you agree with us that the public deserve the opportunity to tell Parliament what they REALLY want.
If the majority are not happy with either option and also do not want a Corbyn-led Government (as all polls indicate) surely it is better move swiftly to a Peoples Vote on the Deal, REMAIN or NO DEAL with the present Parliament before taking the incredibly risky step (under the current voting system) of calling a General Election which may solve nothing as regards BREXIT.
I was particularly struck by Richard’s comment that “a no deal BREXIT would not particularly hurt me, but it would have a huge impact on those who are least able to cope”. We surely can all agree with that.
I urge you to support Lee’s Motion as a whole next Thursday. It will send a positive message of encouragement to your (former) Conservative MP for Newbury and to the majority of those who voted in the Referendum in this District.
Chair, Liberal Democrat Group
West Berkshire Council
• Letter from Richard Benyon MP, 4 September 2019.
• Interview with Judith Bunting, Liberal Democrat MEP for the South East of England.
• Other Penny Post interviews, including with District and Town Councillors in West Berkshire.