The meeting of Bromley Council on 22 February was programmed to decide the Council Tax and set the budget for the forthcoming year. Yet rather than concentrate on safeguarding essential services for Bromley residents, the Tories and UKIP councillors turned their minds to another issue; discussing Brexit.
Having observed the faces of Tory Councillors during the debate on the Council’s budget, one could have concluded some were dead from the neck upwards. However they certainly perked up when it got to a motion proposed by UKIP councillors which outlined ‘Bromley Council would be better off if Britain was out of the European Union’.
Not a single Tory Councillor spoke in favour of staying in the Union, not a single Tory Councillor said anything about any benefits of the Union and most surprisingly not a single Tory Councillor said anything positive about their own Prime Minister’s recent efforts in trying to secure a better deal for the UK.
Labour Councillor, Vanessa Allen had to remind them there were benefits to EU membership and quoted the view of the Tory Party’s very own ‘Big Beast’ Ken Clarke. But Ken is obviously not the Guru of the right he once was and his view had a negligible effect as when it came to the vote, 23 councillors voted in favour of the motion (21 Tories and 2 UKIP) 7 Labour councillors voted against and the remaining Tory councillors abstained resulting in the motion being carried.
Does the motion matter to Bromley residents? Not at all and if public opinion gauged since the council vote is accurate, residents are not at all impressed with Bromley Council attempting to claim this view is representative of wider public opinion in Bromley.
What the councillors’ support for the motion does however show is the very anti EU attitude at the Tory grassroots which is at odds with the majority view of the members of the Cabinet. Some commentators have warned the Tory Party will implode over the EU referendum…one can only live in hope!