No Brexit committee for county and councillors also reject call for second referendum

Lancashire County Council says its officers are making plans for Brexit
Lancashire County Council says its officers are making plans for Brexit
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Councillors have declined to set up a special committee to explore the potential economic impact of Brexit on Lancashire.

Lancashire County Council debated a call from the Labour opposition to establish a cross-party working group to ”support businesses through this turbulent time”.

READ MORE >>> Has Lancashire done an EU-turn on Brexit?
“The events of the last few weeks leave us more uncertain about what’s happening nationally, but we can take control of what’s happening locally,” County Cllr Julie Gibson told a meeting of the full council.

But Conservative council leader Geoff Driver said the suggestion was unnecessary.

“I hope you won’t be surprised to hear that [council] officers are already working on this - we don’t need a working group. The administration will receive [their] report and you’ll see exactly what the proposals are then,” County Cllr Driver said.

The call was made as part of an amendment to a motion put by Green Party member Gina Dowding, which - as well as a Brexit impact assessment - had asked the authority to support a second referendum on any deal about how the UK leaves the EU.

“My strongest argument for going back to the people is - what else can we do? There is no solution at the moment on the table,” County Cllr Dowding said.

“We need more information as to the effects of [the Prime Minister’s current] deal on the people of Lancashire. In terms of NHS workforce provision, it isn’t going to be good at all.”

Liberal Democrat councillors also demanded that a study was commissioned about how Brexit might affect the local economic landscape.

“The government’s own figures say that, whatever happens, the country is going to be worse off - and we have a duty to protect the people of this county,” County Cllr John Potter said.

“No matter what your opinions of Brexit, we have an obligation to understand what the implications are going to be - are people going to be worse off, is it going to affect their jobs and how much money is this council going to get [in future]?” he asked.

No other Conservative spoke on the issue in a time-limited debate, but both proposals were defeated.