The new year has brought a new energy into the campaign for a Final Say referendum. There is some encouraging evidence that the tide is turning rapidly with many more people now questioning whether Brexit is turning out to be what they were promised. There are lots of analogies around, such as buying a car without looking under the bonnet or a house which when the survey arrives turns out to have subsidence. My favourite though is from Lord Lisvane. He asked his fellow peers about his nervous aunts who made a democratic decision to go to the cinema only to find out that the films on show were Reservoir Dogs and Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Should they stick by their democratic decision or change their minds?
There has also been an increase in pressure on Labour to clarify their position and to spell out how it is possible to achieve a jobs-first Brexit while leaving the single market and customs union on which so many jobs depend. My Labour colleagues in the European Parliament are working hard with the TUC to move Labour's position on this. And if Jeremy Corbyn is really in favour of listening to his party's members then he should be supporting the Final Say referendum as well.
Bad Boys of Brexit
Last week I launched a website to expose the unholy alliance of men behind the campaign to leave the EU. The Bad Boys of Brexit website contains details of the coalition of far-right ideologues, climate change deniers, tax-dodging foreign billionaires and specialists in voter manipulation who successfully persuaded a majority of the public to vote to leave the EU. When brought together in this way it makes for frightening reading. But I also want this knowledge to be empowering and hope the information will strengthen our resolve to demand a Final Say on the deal with the EU, with an option to reverse Brexit and remain a member of the EU.
Further details here
See also my article here published by the i paper explaining why I have launched this website.
Those impact assessments…
For months I have been trying to get the government to release their studies into the economic impacts of Brexit. I believe we all need to know what the potential impacts of different courses of action are likely to be on the UK economy. I wrote letters and made Freedom of Information requests, all to no avail. Then, together with Jolyon Maugham of the Good Law Project I sought to force the government’s hand through the courts. While our request for judicial review has so far been refused we have now been listed for an oral hearing on March 6th which will allow us to make our case in court for a judicial review.
Meanwhile, the studies we think we were after were leaked to Buzzfeed last week, destined for sharing in one-to-one meetings between officials and government ministers. These showed that under every scenario, Brexit would hurt the economy, and that the regions who voted most strongly for Brexit are those that will take the biggest economic hit from the UK leaving the EU.
But rather than take any responsibility for the damaging shambles they are creating, the Brexiteers turned their fire on the Civil Service. Brexit minister Steve Baker rubbished the work of his own civil servants in the House of Commons and then, in an even more sinister move, Jacob Rees-Mogg questioned the independence of the Civil Service.
Because of the total lack of clarity over what studies have been carried out I am proceeding with legal action so that we can find out exactly what documents exist and, crucially, which it would be in the public interest to disclose.
Read my article in Left Foot Forward here about the secrecy and lies shrouding Brexit and how this is seriously undermining our democracy.
The Customs Union
The government has announced that it will seek to leave the customs union after Brexit. This will be hugely damaging to UK manufacturing industry and both the TUC and CBI are united in their belief that the UK must remain in the customs union. Labour seem as divided on this as the Tories. But 56% of potential Labour voters want the party to remain in both the customs union and the single market, with only 13% opposed.
See my Guardian article here in which I urge Labour to change tack.
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Molly Scott Cato
Cleo Lake becomes Lord Mayor
Green Councillor Cleo Lake took up her role as Lord Mayor of Bristol to applause from a packed puiblic chamber where friends, family and members of the local communty had come to see her take up the position of first citizen of Bristol this week.
Watch: Bristol's MEP makes the case for a 'People's Vote' on Brexit
Molly talks to BBC Sunday Politics South West about the importance of a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal, especially for students and young people who were unable to vote in the EU referendum.
Job: Junior Constituency Assistant – Bristol Office of Molly Scott Cato MEP
Molly is looking for a part time (21 hours per week) Junior Constituency Assistant for her constituency office in Bristol. The role will start in approximately July 2018 and will initially be for a fixed term period of 3 months.
Bristol's MEP condemns ‘Not me Gove’ ‘strategy’ for air pollution
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato has accused Environment Secretary Michael Gove of pointing the finger of blame for the UK’s illegal air quality in every direction but at the government and the chief causes of the problem.
Greens call for Bristol West MP to push for continued single market membership
Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP, has called on Bristol West MP, Thangam Debbonaire, to use the ‘ray of hope’ offered by the Lords yesterday and vote to keep the UK inside the single market.
Why did the Council drop Bristol Energy?
Did Leave.EU take data from Bristol companies?
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has today written to Avon and Somerset Police to ask if the force is investigating new evidence that Bristol companies GoSkippy and Eldon Insurance allegedly shared data illegally with Leave.EU.
Green councillors stand with Friends of Redland Library against closure
At a meeting of Friends of Redland Library last week, Green councillors Carla Denyer and Clive Stevens were amongst the speakers updating residents about the progress of the campaign to save Bristol’s libraries.
Brexit update from Bristol's Green MEP
An update from Molly Scott Cato, Bristol's Green MEP and the national EU spokesperson
Keeping Bristol’s parks ad-free
At a council meeting on March 20 Bristol Council debated a petition to ‘Keep our parks advertising free’, in response to the Labour administration’s proposals to introduce commercial advertising to Bristol's parks and green spaces. Green Cllr Steve Clarke spoke in response.
Bristol Uni announces it will become fossil free
The University of Bristol, after extensive talks, announced today that it will withdraw all £700,000 of its investment from the fossil fuel industry. Moving from partial to full divestment is a big step forward for the university, with plans being put in place to ditch all fossil fuel companies from its investment portfolio over the next couple of years.
Council votes for Temple Meads arena location after Green motion
Over five thousand people have now signed a petition calling for the Mayor to support a Bristol arena at Temple Meads. Green councillors brought the matter to a vote with a motion to Full Council.
It’s time for a drug consumption room in Bristol
Green Councillor Cleo Lake is calling for Bristol to launch a drug consumption room to give drug users a safer space with access to needles and specialist support.
Bristol's Three Pro-EU MEPs release joint statement on Russian poison attack
“In a difficult week for pro-EU MEPs, when we debated the next stage of the leaving process, it was heartening to feel the warmth and generosity of our European colleagues in solidarity with the UK in the face of Russian aggression."
Greens bring vote on Arena location to Council meeting
Green Councillors have secured a Council debate and vote on the location of Bristol’s arena at next Tuesday’s Council meeting.
Bristol’s next Lord Mayor announced as Green Councillor Cleo Lake
Green Councillors have announced their candidate for Lord Mayor as Cotham Councillor, Cleo Lake
Clean Air Action Plan proposed after years of Green campaigning
At Bristol Council today, the Cabinet approved the development of a Clean Air Action Plan to tackle the illegal levels of air pollution in the city, which has been estimated to contribute to over 300 premature deaths per year.
High Court refuses MEP's Brexit case
High Court refuses to force government’s hand over Brexit impact studies
Bristol's MEP is today in High Court over Brexit court action
The High Court will this morning hear an oral application for permission to apply for judicial review to compel the production, in public, of the studies the government continues to withhold on the economic impacts of Brexit.
Green Group leader lobbies Treasury for end to local government cuts
Green Group leader Eleanor Combley today travelled to London to hand in a letter to the Treasury calling for an end to cuts to local government funding.
Greens refuse to vote for Labour’s cuts budget
At today’s budget Full Council meeting in Bristol City Hall, the city’s Green Councillors have refused to vote for the Labour Mayor’s austerity budget that proposed cuts of £34 million across Bristol, including library and public toilet closures and a large funding cut to Adult Social Care.
Raft of Green amendments passes at Budget Full Council
Bristol’s Green Councillors are celebrating today as all but one of their budget amendments at today’s Budget Full Council were passed.
Plot to ditch EU food standards threatens South West producers
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has warned of a plot by leading rightwing Brexiteers to ditch EU food and safety standards that would allow the import of US meats, drugs and chemicals currently banned in Britain.
New report on ‘Britain’s broken housing market’ & lessons from other EU Countries
Bristol's Green MEP, Molly Scott Cato, has launched a report she commissioned on the UK’s housing crisis.
Opinion: Blue sky thinking not allowed – frustrations of Bristol City Council’s budget
Green councillor for Clifton Down Carla Denyer writes for Bristol 24/7 on the restrictions surrounding the budget process at the council, which she says "makes long-term thinking impossible."
“Build children’s homes instead of sending children across the country”
Green Councillor Eleanor Combley has submitted an amendment to the Council’s budget, calling for two specialist children’s homes to be acquired for children with complex needs. Councillor Combley said: “Bristol’s current children’s homes are too large and unspecialised for children with complex social, emotional or mental health needs, so these children are often sent to homes far from the Bristol area. We know that for most children in care it is better to be closer to home, near their family and communities and where they can be supported by local social workers. In Bristol 1 in 10 children in care are placed more than 20 miles from their home.”
Green councillor welcomes additional landlord licensing proposal
Below is a response from Clifton Down councillor Carla Denyer to the consultation on landlord licensing launched by Bristol City Council today (16 Feb. 18).
Greens offer budget alternatives after lack of "practical or moral leadership” from Mayor
In response to a lack of practical or moral leadership coming from the Labour Mayor’s Office, Bristol Green Party Councillors have today set out a series of suggested positive and progressive alternatives to the council’s annual budgetary hand-wringing process.
20mph proven to be safer in Bristol
An authoritative report produced by the University of the West of England and commissioned by Bristol City Council has demonstrated the safety of the city-wide 20mph zone. Greens are demanding that this should put to bed the debate about the impact of such limits.
Green amendment calls for property developers to fund homelessness prevention
At next week’s budget meeting at Bristol City Council, Green Councillor Carla Denyer will call on the Labour administration to increase emergency funding for some of the most vulnerable people in Bristol, and pay for it by raising charges on private property developments which block roads.