EU Referendum

First council in England set to vote to leave the EU

Alliance of Ukip, Conservative and independent councillors hopes to convince councils across England to reject Britain’s EU membership

Protestors take part in a demonstration calling for a referendum on the European Union (EU) Lisbon Treaty, outside the Houses of Parliament in central London, on February 27, 2008
Havering Borough Council looks set to vote to support Britain’s exit from the EU Photo: Getty Images

A town hall meeting tonight is expected to see Havering Borough Council’s six Ukip councillors form an alliance with Eurosceptic Conservatives and independent councillors to support Britain’s exit from the EU.

Lawrence Webb, Ukip’s leader on the council, said that he is quietly confident his anti-EU grouping will prevail when his motion is voted on.

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His motion reads: “Due to the negative impact that EU directives such as the agency working time directive and EU procurement rules have on the ability and cost of Havering Council to fulfil its obligations, this council agrees that Britain would be better off outside the European Union.”

The councillor, who stood as Ukip’s candidate for Mayor of London in 2012, was elected as the party’s first councillor in London in 2013.

He said: “Many of the 22 Conservatives on Havering Council are firmly in favour of the UK leaving the EU and have indicated their support for this motion as have a number of the independent local residents’ representatives on the council, so we have sufficient numbers to carry this.

“We will lay down the gauntlet for councils up and down the country to follow suit.”

Peter Whittle, Ukip’s London mayoral candidate, said: “Havering’s vote next week will finally nail the lie that London is pro Britain’s membership of the EU. Increasingly people in London understand that Leave is the sensible option for this great city.”

The council is planning a live stream of the debate from 7.30pm tonight.

In the first analysis of a potential ‘Brexit’ on immigration levels, the pressure group MigrationWatch UK, said a ‘No’ referendum vote could cut numbers coming to the UK “substantially”.

Exiting the EU would allow the British Government to impose visa requirements on migrants from the rest of Europe and allow in only skilled workers, it suggested.

Such a move would sound the end of the “Polish builder” phenomenon which has been a feature of the British economy since Poland and other eastern European countries joined the EU in 2004, bringing a wave of low-skilled and unskilled labour into the job market.

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