On Saturday 10th November 2018, the National Health Action Party AGM passed a motion supporting a 'People's Vote' on Brexit. The motion was passed by a vote of 70 to 3, with 3 abstentions. The text was as follows:
NHA Brexit Motion for AGM
In June 2016, Britain narrowly voted to leave the European Union. We recognise that 17.4m people voted to leave, many of them on the understanding that the NHS would benefit financially by £350 million per week. Unfortunately immediately after the referendum result was announced, proponents of the Leave campaign began to backtrack on this promise.
In the run- up to the referendum and since, the National Health Action Party has seen grave democratic deficits in the Brexit process. It is clear that the NHS and patients are already being harmed by many Brexit- related issues such as the fall in EU applicants for NHS jobs, or by policies such as the ‘hostile environment’ against migrants which have been accelerated since the referendum and are accompanied by a disturbing rise in hate crimes in our communities.
Recently we have learnt that the government is making plans for a ‘no deal’ Brexit by stockpiling food, medication and blood products. Patients are taking to social media to express fear for their and their loved ones’ lives should they be unable to access medicines or medical devices.
The National Health Action Party (NHA) notes that since the 2016 referendum and the triggering of Article 50, information currently available in the public domain shows that the prospect of Brexit is already having a negative impact on the NHS and the UK economy. This is very likely to exacerbate the NHS staffing crisis and lead to (or worsen) shortages of medicines, cuts to research programmes, loss of collaboration in cross border health protection initiatives, loss of freedom of movement of NHS staff and patients across the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and much more.
If contrary to current expectations a deal is passed by Parliament and ratified by the EU, then a clearly and unambiguously worded referendum must be held to determine whether the people accept that deal or prefer to remain in the European Union.
If Parliament is unable to reach a deal or if a deal is reached by Parliament but is not accepted by the EU, then a clearly and unambiguously worded referendum must be held to determine if the people want a ‘no-deal’ Brexit or remain in the European Union.
If Parliament fails to pass a Bill to allow a referendum on the above terms, the NHA resolves to campaign for
- Britain to remain in the customs union and in the single market
- frictionless trade of medicines and medical devices across borders,
- continuation of all collaborative health protection policies and health science research programmes,
- citizens’ ongoing freedom of movement within the European Union, and
- negotiation of additional time to ensure relevant deals can be completed
EU citizens in the UK and British citizens in Europe must be included as eligible voters for any referendum described above.
Proposed by Veronika Wagner, seconded by Bernice Ancill