I’m campaigning for a second referendum because…

In this blog series, people of Southwark outline why they’re in favour of a second referendum. From those who have always wanted a final say on any deal, to members just joining the cause, we showcase the range and breadth of opinion of South East London. This week, Southwark for Europe volunteer James outlines the reasons he’s campaign for a second referendum.

This time last year I was not a supporter of a second referendum. The people had spoken, I thought. Britain had made its bed, and now it had to sleep in it, I believed. We just had to have faith, and everything would be okay, I told myself.

I was told by my friends that, as a Labour supporter and fully paid-up union member, Labour voters in Labour heartlands would never forgive the party for supporting a second referendum. They would never vote Labour again, and the party would be out of power for decades to come.

Yet, as the months have passed, the news coming from unions and businesses has become increasingly bleak. Recently, the GMB union changed its policy in the face of rising support amongst its membership for a second referendum. Just as you would expect union members to have the final say over any pay negotiation, so too should the British public be allowed to assess the final deal our Government has been fighting for. Workers’ rights, environmental protection and consumer safeguards shouldn’t be slaughtered on the altar of a Conservative-led Brexit.

Businesses have warned that a ‘no deal’, or even ‘hard’ Brexit, could lead to job losses. In the manufacturing sector, Jaguar Land Rover is already cutting car production, whilst the City of London is bracing itself for a mass exodus of jobs and, at worst, whole banking institutions.

At the same time, local government is concerned that any recession triggered by a ‘no deal’ or ‘hard’ Brexit will lead to a massive reduction in investment at the local level. Harrow Council is predicting a rise in inequality and homelessness. Not a day goes by without a warning that the NHS is crumbling as the number of vacancies continues to rise.

Nobody voted to be poorer, or for worst public services. Nobody voted to see jobs threatened, or workers’ rights mowed down.

Whether the referendum offers the choice of the proposed deal or remaining in the EU, or if there a three options on the ballot paper; what matters is that the Government is held to account, and that the people can review what it asked the Government to do in June 2016. The time has come for a second referendum.”