After hitting 100,000 signatures, Leeds for Europe’s petition for a Public Inquiry into the impact of Brexit is to be debated in Parliament on April 24th. The debate will be broadcast live on the UK Parliament YouTube channel.
Leeds for Europe, one of the European Movement’s local branches, started a government petition at the end of 2022 calling upon the government “to hold a Public Inquiry into the impact of Brexit”.
Richard Wilson, Vice Chair of the European Movement and Chair of Leeds for Europe, recently wrote a piece for the Yorkshire Post. In the piece, Wilson discusses that it was the lies of the Brexit government, coupled with their empty promises, which forced Leeds for Europe to call for a public inquiry in order to assess the impact of Brexit.
The petition received 10,000 signatures in its first two days and the government actually responded to the petition back in December 2022 stating:
The full government response can be seen here.
However, despite the government response stating that it “does not believe this to be an appropriate subject for a public inquiry”, if the petition were to receive 100,000 signatures by 18th May 2023, then it would have to be debated in the commons.
At time of writing, the petition has been signed by over 140,000 people.
Peter Packham (A member of Leeds for Europe and a European Movement National Council Member) is responsible for starting the petition. He stated that:
"Although there is no vote on the debate, and it is not binding on the government this is still an important debate for two reasons. First, it will be the first time that MPs will have had an opportunity to debate the consequences of Brexit which, in itself, is an extraordinary situation three years after leaving the EU.
“Secondly, a public inquiry into the impact of Brexit is crucial for our country and the public's right to know. Our ability to move forward as a nation must be informed by the full knowledge of what has happened so far because of Brexit, what is likely to happen in the future and what steps must be taken to mitigate any negative impacts. Holding a full Public Inquiry should not be a controversial request.”
EM’s newly elected Chair Dr. Mike Galsworthy recently praised Leeds for Europe in a meeting he hosted with EMUK members. Mike outlined that the petition has now exceeded over 135,000 signatures and that this is “a flagship example of what all local groups can do to bring attention and in turn grow the movement.”
In a recent tweet, Galsworthy was quick to highlight the rural representation on this “Public Inquiry into the Impact of Brexit” petition relative to the cities. This demonstrates the impact this petition has had on a national scale, and also emphasises that public opinion is shifting, areas that once voted Brexit are now realising the damage it is causing.
Polling data done by Omnisis, with a sample size of 1200 people shows that 59% are in favour of an independent public inquiry into the impacts of Brexit.
When asked the question, “Should there be an independent public inquiry into the impacts of Brexit on the UK economy, businesses and citizens?” These were the results:
Yes, definitely - 27%
Yes, probably - 32%
No, probably not -17%
No, definitely not - 8%
I don’t know - 16%
Richard Wilson has urged all supporters of the petition to watch the debate on the UK Parliament YouTube channel if they aren’t able to be in London. He also encouraged all pro-Europeans based in Yorkshire to keep an eye out for which Yorkshire MPs “can’t even be bothered or flatly refuse to turn up for the debate”. This is clearly an extremely important issue of huge significance to their constituents – so they should attend the debate.
We encourage everyone to tune into the debate on 24th April, and we want to give a huge thank you to Leeds for Europe for starting this petition, growing the movement and for setting an example that local groups have the power to take their concerns straight to Westminster.