STATEMENT FROM THE CHAIRMAN OF COUNCIL
Amanda Martin, Chairman of the Council has issued the following statement following the EU referendum.
On June 23rd 2016 the United Kingdom (UK) electorate was asked to give its opinion on leaving or remaining in the European Union (EU). National voter turnout was 72.2%: the votes to leave totalled 17,410,742 (51.9%) and the votes to remain totalled 16,141,241 (48.1%). In the Isles of Scilly, where polling stations opened on Bryher, St. Agnes, St. Martin’s, St. Mary’s and Tresco, the overall voter turnout was 79%. The majority of our local electorate voted to remain in the EU, with 56% voting to remain and 44% to leave.
The economic, political, social and emotional repercussions of this referendum will be felt for many years to come. Our national government is in turmoil and appears not to have prepared for this result as there are no contingency plans as yet. Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty explains that a Member State which decides to withdraw from the European Union shall notify the European Council of its intention. Until our government invokes Article 50 we still belong to the European Union and will continue to do so until the necessary negotiations have been completed. This process could last for up to two years, perhaps longer subject to the agreement of EU members.
It is impossible to know the full impact of this situation on the islands but it is already obvious that we shall be negatively affected on many levels. My fellow Councillors and I will be working with our Chief Executive and Senior Managers to ascertain the extent of the implications for the Isles of Scilly insofar as we are able and to get the best possible deal for the islands. We shall probably not know for quite some time how the referendum result will affect future investment in the islands. Some laws and regulations may change in the long term but this is likely to take many months.
Across the UK there have been troubling and reprehensible acts of racist violence and xenophobic mindlessness. Our community is not immune to racism. Sad to report, there have been offensive comments and so-called jokes made to or about islanders of foreign origin. We should not tolerate or accept racist incidents, even those presented under the dubious cloak of ‘humour’. For centuries these islands have provided welcome, shelter, friendship and help to residents and visitors alike. Let us proudly remember our label “The Friendly Isles” as we respect our differences and work together to make the future a better place.