People in every authority in Lincolnshire voted to leave the EU, 65.3% of the County votes. Lincolnshire Independents look at what happened, why and should come next.
In a statement issued this afternoon, the group’s leader Councillor Marianne Overton MBE said: “We have just seen the biggest public engagement in politics for a very long time. For some, it was the first time they saw the point in listening to the debate and in voting. We welcome that involvement and fully accept the result.
“In Lincolnshire, almost two thirds of voters, 65.3% voted to leave the EU. The range was from Boston, South Holland and East Lindsey topped the national vote with 76, 75% and 71% respectively wanting to leave the EU. West Lindsey, North and South Kesteven were 60-62% and Lincoln was at 57% wanting to leave. Rich discussion on the economy, legislation and immigration kept the media busy - and websites busy clarifying the facts. My personal poll of local residents on the day revealed 107 votes for “in” to 150 or 58% for “out”.
“It is clear that people in elected public office need to listen and tackle problems raised by the public, including concerns about managing immigration in the areas most affected. Politicians are reflecting on their self-interests, the nation and the attitude of voters. The referendum was called by Mr Cameron, but in the event, he could not command the support of his party, nor the Country. The three Parliamentary leaders found themselves vulnerable, as the parties split, leaving them marooned.
“Individuals made up their own minds.
“Lincolnshire Independents stayed Independent on the issue of the EU. Members had strong voices on both sides, people who have researched carefully, understand the risks and advantages and weighed them up in a personal decision. We are uniquely well placed to understand what is needed and to tackle the new challenges over the next two years and beyond.
“Most Unions, some big businesses, environmental bodies and the Green Party recommended remain, based mainly on worker conditions, trade and environmental protection. The referendum also makes it clear that people were worried about the inability to control immigration, sovereignty and the integrity of the EU itself. It is vital we understand the differences to get on with negotiating the conditions of exit and most importantly, the rules for doing business together. It is in everyone’s interests to have a Britain that works.
“Lincolnshire Independents are working to grow our local businesses, to improve health, and fight for better planning with proper local services. Now is a good time for us to carefully target our efforts. Our members are already busy working on the impact on business and we have a meeting on this in Lincolnshire at the end of July and a national conference in early July. EU regulations have influenced much of what local councils want to do; sound procurement, a clean and diverse environment, minimising waste, fair employment, consumers protected with trading standards and public protection. There is much to do in building the kind of country we want, both nationally and locally
“To keep our services running, we will need our fair share of the EU contributions, the business rates as well as other funding and indeed, strong community support. To keep good health and adult care, we need proper funding and devolution of integrated care to our Council. To keep the balance of what we can provide, we need moderate migration, resources and proper planning control.
“We have worked on devolution of power and money from central government to our existing local authorities. Now we will need to consider devolution from Europe. Our Councillors are closest to residents, trusted and well placed to bring people together to get the best for Lincolnshire. It is vital that the public and our councillors have a front seat in shaping our future. The Lincolnshire Independents are well placed to be at the heart.
“Our members are skilled and motivated councillors without a party whip, well used to listening to residents, concentrating on the facts and acting in their interests. Our members also contribute to the work of Local Government nationally through the Local Government Association, helping to shape the agenda and influence legislation. Our monthly workshops, attendance at regional and national conferences help to ensure that we are drawing on the skills and local knowledge of all our members and the residents they serve.
“More than ever, it is clear we need a local government democracy that is inclusive and effective. Lincolnshire Independents are in touch with our communities, understand the issues and are well placed to assist in creating a better government, fit for the future. Surely we will get the best from government that is inclusive, listening and local, working together for the good of our communities.
“Now is the time for us to focus our efforts on shaping the future, not within Europe, but rather with Europe and elsewhere. Let’s keep the momentum of political engagement with so many voices and with Lincolnshire Independents the natural heart. www.lincolnshireindependents.org.uk”