15 December 2017
Brighton and Hove City Council becomes first in country to vote in support of ratification referendum
Brighton and Hove city Council has become the first in the UK to endorse a call for a referendum to ratify any final deal on Brexit after a proposal from the Green Group of Councillors received formal backing yesterday evening (Thursday, 14th December). 
A motion from the Green Group demanding that the Council pressure the Government for a ratification referendum passed by just one vote following a debate which saw Labour Councillors split over the issue.
The successful vote on the proposals will now see the Council formally contact Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Sajid David to request ‘this city’s strong desire for a referendum on the final terms of a Brexit deal, including the option to maintain full EU membership.’
Support for a public say on the terms of any final ‘Brexit’ deal has been mounting, with a recent poll conducted by Survation showing that more than half of those surveyed wanted the public to be asked if they agree or reject the Conservative Government’s terms of exiting the EU. 
Councillor Ollie Sykes, who put forward the motion on behalf of the Green Group, urged the Council to stand up for the people of Brighton and Hove, who voted overwhelmingly by 68.6% to ‘remain’ in the EU during the June 2016 referendum. Naming a few ‘honourable exceptions’ fellow Councillor Leo Littman damned the Labour Party for failing to mount a serious opposition to a hard Brexit, which ‘they could put a stop to immediately.’ 
Green Councillor Ollie Sykes commented:
“Our Council yesterday took a strong stance on Brexit, thanks to this initiative by Green Party Councillors. Brighton and Hove is a pro-European and pro-EU city and we are determined to make that voice heard nationally, because Brexit will be a disaster for our city. Through this motion, our Council will ask the chair of the Exiting the European Union Select Committee, Hilary Benn MP, for Brexit sectoral analysis that is of relevance to Brighton and Hove. Additionally, and most importantly, our Council will communicate to relevant Ministers our desire for a ratification referendum that must include the option of a return to full EU membership. This is Green Party policy and also reflects the way our city voted in June 2016.”
Green Councillors have consistently raised concerns over the lack of detail on the impact of Brexit on local Councils. The Local Government Association has estimated that local communities would face an £8.4billion funding gap from the point the UK officially exited the EU. 
The proposals also called on Hilary Benn to provide detailed impact assessments on Brexit and for the Council to express support for the 110-strong Eurocities network, of which Brighton and Hove is a member.