On Thursday 23rd June 75,396 people in Richmond voted to remain in the EU.
They recognised that a vote to remain was a vote for economic stability, that it was a vote for continued growth and jobs and that it was a vote for increased prosperity in the years to come.
They also recognised that a vote to remain in the EU was a vote to reinforce the position of the United Kingdom as a tolerant, generous, outward looking country that welcomes difference and diversity rather than an isolationist nation closing ourselves off from our nearest neighbours.
I am proud of the fact that Richmond voted overwhelmingly to remain. I’m proud that 70% of those who voted saw through the relentless stream of distortions, half-truths and downright lies which spewed forth from the Leave campaign on a daily basis. And I’m proud that we rejected the constant stream of bile and innuendo designed to whip up hatred and division which streamed from certain parts of the media.
What has become abundantly clear, however, is that on this issue the leaders of our local Tory council are completely out of step with the views of the majority of local residents. Their leader, deputy leader, their assembly member, one of their MPs and the majority of their councillors all supported Brexit and though Tania Mathias claimed to support Remain she was completely invisible throughout the campaign.
To add insult to injury the Deputy Leader of the Conservatives, Geoffrey Samuel, has taken to social media to denounce those who voted to remain as ‘The Chattering Classes’. This is yet more evidence that the local Conservative party has stopped speaking for local residents.
Since Friday we have seen thousands of people joining the Liberal Democrats. If you feel that you want to support the progressive force we represent in local politics then, if you are not already a member, I would urge you to join us. Together we can make the case for a positive and generous force in local politics and, with the elections in 2018 less than 2 years away, work towards electing a council which shares the positive and generous views of its residents.
Group Leader, LBRuT Lib Dems