Following the EU Referendum, Cllr Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council, issued an email to over 11,000 residents. A copy of this email can be found below.
I am immensely disappointed that the UK voted to leave the EU last night.
I fundamentally believe that as a community, and as a country, we achieve more together than we do alone. But the people have spoken, and we must respect the result of the referendum.
Being honest, I didn’t anticipate this result. As we all look for a way forward I have two priorities.
First, to ensure Islington remains a tolerant, diverse and welcoming borough. This was an ugly campaign and if I was a member of one of the groups scapegoated during the last few months, I would be feeling pretty worried today.
When I dropped the kids off at school this morning, I have never seen such worry in the eyes of many of my fellow parents who could be forgiven for asking if they’re still welcome in their own country. We need to stand with those who are under attack and say that, in Islington, everyone is welcome. I will be spending some time over the next few days and weeks to spread that message of solidarity.
Second, we must protect our economy, particularly investment in new homes and jobs. Islington has a housing and unemployment crisis, and the uncertainty created by yesterday’s vote is already hitting planned investment in the borough. I’m worried a downturn my trigger further damaging cuts to public services from an even more right-wing Tory government.
It’s vital that the government works with Mayor Sadiq Khan and councils like Islington to start an emergency housing programme to stop house building coming to a complete stop.
I am proud that in Islington 75 per cent of residents who voted chose to remain in the EU and that a record number of people turned out to vote.
I believe our borough can remain a beacon of tolerance, mutual respect and decency. If given the opportunity we can continue to run good services, build homes, create jobs and reduce poverty.
Islington Labour remains on the side of working people in Islington, and we will continue to fight to protect local people from whatever challenges are created in these uncertain times.
Cllr Richard Watts
Leader of Islington Council