The Green Party has told the people of Hackney they will have the chance to vote again on EU membership if the party comes to power following the general election.
Caroline Lucas, co-leader of the party, announced the plans at The Space Studios in Hackney last Tuesday (May 2).
She promised to give voters a final say on any Brexit deal – with the chance to stay in the EU if they are not in favour of the Government’s negotiations.
Speaking to workers and activists at the studio – which has benefitted from EU funding – Lucas said: “A democracy worthy of the name must mean people having a real say over the major decisions that affect their lives.
“That’s why the Green Party has consistently said that the referendum should be the start, not the end, of the democratic process.”
The Greens are the only party to have made an official manifesto pledge that includes the option of remaining in the EU via a ratification referendum.
Addressing around 200 people at the event, Lucas said: “Whoever wins this election has a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the British people – but that does not mean that they have the right to impose a final deal.
“Instead, we demand a ratification referendum, which gives people the option to remain in the EU if they wish, or to vote back the Government’s deal.
“There are some who will say that this is a re-run of the referendum, but that simply isn’t the case. Instead this is giving people an informed say over our shared future. If the Government is so convinced that they’ll get a decent deal then there’s no reason that they wouldn’t trust people to have a final say.
“Our message is simple: for a final say and for a chance to vote to stay in the EU, vote Green.”
Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party’s EU spokesperson, who is gearing up to take the Bristol West seat from Labour and join Lucas in Parliament, addressed the event alongside Lucas.
She said: “Take Back Control was the strapline which persuaded many to vote Leave in the referendum last year. It is now clear what that meant: a power-grab by the Tory right so they can make a bonfire of regulations, which protect our rights and environment.
“A ratification referendum must give back control. People must be given an opportunity to vote for the future on offer at the end of the Article 50 process, or decide whether actually we are better off remaining a full member of the EU.”
Hackney North candidate Alastair Binnie-Lubbock also praised Hackney for being one of the highest voting areas: “Hackney is one of the highest Remain voting areas in the country with 78 per cent resisting this Tory/UKIP disaster.
“Greens, with our excellent MEPs, were well aware that a Tory Brexit could lead to diminished environmental protections and financial regulations turning us into a bargain basement tax-haven.
“We can’t turn our backs on our nearest neighbours, with whom we share so much history and have been running the world’s most successful experiment in peacekeeping and trade.”
Hackney resident Lucy Prince, 42, who has been living in Hackney for the past 12 years, believes the Greens have great ideas but that there is an issue of their voices being heard by the general public.
Speaking to Eastlondonlines, she said: “I am most comfortable voting for the Greens because they have the general public at the heart of their campaign, I just wish their approach was much stronger so more people are aware about their plans for us, especially post-Brexit”.