WEST Berkshire Council voted against formally supporting a second referendum on leaving the European Union. 

In a heated debate last week, Tory councillors argued the council should focus on local services and local issues, not Brexit. 

Liberal Democrat and Green councillors said Brexit, and especially a no deal Brexit, would be ‘catastrophic’ for local people and businesses. 

Councillor Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East), the opposition leader, put forward a motion saying the council should support a second Brexit referendum and request more resources from the government to prepare for a no deal Brexit. 

Approving the motion would put the council against ‘a large section of our community, said Cllr Jeff Cant (Con, Newbury Clay Hill). “I think that’s the wrong thing to do.” 

Cllr Thomas Marino (Con, Tilehurst & Purley): “We should concentrate on providing local services. Another vote would be very divisive.”

West Berkshire Council did not respond when asked about preparations for Brexit, a no deal Brexit, whether any risk assessments had been done, or how much money had been received from central government for Brexit preparations. 

Cllr David Marsh (Green, Newbury Wash Common): “There’s no possible way that a no deal Brexit could be anything other than catastrophic for local people and businesses. The people in West Berkshire did not vote for Brexit nor a no deal Brexit.”

Cllr Jeff Brooks (Lib Dem, Thatcham West): “We must admit that parliament is completely stuck. When parliament hits an impasse, the people must be consulted. It provides a way out for the dead-end we find ourselves in.” 

A no deal Brexit could lead to shortages of fresh food and medicine, could affect energy supply, and bankrupt many providers of adult social care — according to a government document published last week called Operation Yellowhammer. 

Cllr Lynne Doherty (Con, Newbury Speen), the leader of the council, said she was ‘really disappointed’ this motion was put to the council. She said she was more ‘concerned about local government, local issues, for the local people of West Berkshire’. 

Cllr Lee Dillon (Lib Dem, Thatcham North East) said: “More voting is not less democracy. The Conservatives are ready to kick us under a bus, just so they can deliver something nobody was sure about in the first place.”