Legal challenge to force government to reveal impact of Brexit on Norwich

PUBLISHED: 22:16 25 September 2018 | UPDATED: 22:45 25 September 2018

Norwich City Council Labour leader Alan Waters. Picture: Ian Burt

Norwich City Council Labour leader Alan Waters. Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

The leader of the city council is to invoke legislation to demand the government hands over all information it holds about the impact Brexit would have on Norwich.

James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Norwich City Council. Pic: Stuart McPherson.James Wright, leader of the Liberal Democrat group on Norwich City Council. Pic: Stuart McPherson.

Alan Waters, Labour leader at City Hall, is to write to local government secretary James Brokenshire to force the government to provide the detail.

He will use legislation under the Sustainable Communities Act to demand the information from the government.

It follows the example of Plymouth City Council, which was the first authority to invoke the legislation to seek such information.

Mr Waters said: “Norwich is a city which voted to remain in 2016.

“The story of Brexit started with the Conservatives thinking leaving the EU was going to be a breeze and we would somehow have our cake and eat it.

“But the negotiations are now at a point where the prospect of a no deal Brexit cannot be ruled out.”

He said that had created “considerable uncertainty” for what it would mean for Norwich.

He said: “Norwich City Council needs to make its own preparations and, for this, we need the fullest information, including that which is currently withheld, to enable us to plan ahead.

“I will be writing to James Brokenshire to demand the immediate receipt of all government analysis and information pertaining to the impact on Norwich.

“Upon receipt of that, it will go straight into the public domain to inform the debate about our options.”

Mr Waters revealed his intention to demand the information during a meeting of Norwich City Council tonight (Tuesday, September 25).

The meeting also saw a walk-out by the three-strong Liberal Democrat group after their motion, calling for the city council to endorse the People’s Vote campaign was adjourned.

That campaign is calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal.

Lib Dem leader James Wright had urged councillors to back the campaign group and for the group leaders to write to MPs expressing the council’s “strong desire” for a vote on the final deal.

But Labour leader Alan Waters said the motion was “premature”.

He tabled a motion to adjourn the debate, carried by 26 votes to seven, which prompted the Lib Dem walk-out.
Mr Wright said it was the second time Labour had deferred a Lib Dem motion on Brexit which called for a vote on the final deal, having also done so in June.

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