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Jewish councillor’s warning over second Brexit vote

Highbury East councillor Sue Lukes tells EU no-deal debate: ‘We are very scared’

04 October, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Cllr Sue Lukes at the Labour party conference in Brighton

A JEWISH Labour councillor urged her colleagues not to back a quick second referendum on Brexit after warning a new vote could stir up racial tensions.

During a full council debate on a motion opposing a no-deal Brexit, Cllr Sue Lukes, who represents Highbury East, said that her friends and family were terrified at the prospect.

She instead argued that a general election could lead to a change in power and an effort to stop minorities being blamed for the Brexit crisis.

After that, the Labour Party would seek a second referendum on membership of the European Union, she said.

Cllr Lukes told the meeting on Thursday: “We are very, very scared. Ethno-nationalism is being mobilised against us and against everybody in pursuit of a no-deal Brexit.”

She added: “I can see why from some comfortable places in Islington, it could be a good idea to go back and do it all over again, have another referendum, but unless we deal with the causes of that Brexit vote, we are stuck.”

Cllr Caroline Russell 

Green Party member and fellow Highbury East councillor Caroline Russell put forward an amendment to the motion and argued that the council should back a confirmatory vote before a general election.

Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the Islington North MP, is working with a coalition of parties to push through legislation in the House of Commons that would tighten the rules preventing Prime Minister Boris Johnson forcing Britain to leave the EU without a deal on October 31.

Labour council leader Richard Watts said: “It is quite clear that a no-deal Brexit will be an utter catastrophe for Islington and frankly for our whole country.”

Cllr Russell, the only opposition councillor at the Town Hall, said: “A general election will not get us out of the immediate crisis we face and it risks deepening the divisions in our communities.

She added: “Once no deal is safely off the table we should work for a referendum where people can choose between an actual deal that the EU and parliament will accept, and Remain. Then, of course, we should hold a general election and I look forward to challenging Jeremy once again in Islington North.”

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