— Phil Taylor (@philjvtaylor) December 20, 2016
I was unimpressed by the Ealing councillors choosing to spend their time debating Brexit at the year’s last full council meeting last night. It is way above their pay grade – this kind of motion always did my head in when I was a councillor.
Labour council and MP at odds over Article 50 https://t.co/CLiqJS9CRw
— David Rivers (@DaveHarryRivers) December 21, 2016
It is hard to work out from the Gazetteâ€™s report what went on. Seemingly the Labour councillors and Labour Central Ealing and Acton MP Rupa Huq are not on the same page. It is understandable that Rupa Huq was typically hissy to the LibDems and Jon Ball who is a councillor in the Ealing Common ward that sits in her current constituency. With her tiny majority of 274 (the 7th tiniest majority in the country) you can see how Huq needs to keep the LibDems at bay. If they position themselves as being the Remain vote in 2020 in Ealing they will hoover up her votes.
It is hard though to see why the Labour councillors effectively repudiated Rupa Huq and would not support her Remainiac position. That is until you see the results of the EU referendum broken down by ward (I know the figures arenâ€™t all directly comparable because some include postal votes and some donâ€™t).
If you look at the various areas as groups you get:
- Acton 68% remain
- Southfield 76% remain (LibDem stronghold, part of Chiswick)
- Greater Ealing 69% (everything else East and South of the River Brent)
- Greenford 51% remain (but with 2 out of 3 wards marginally leave)
- Northolt 49% remain (with Northolt West End being the leaviest ward in the borough)
- Perivale 54% remain
- Southall 53% remain (with South Green and Southall Broadway being only just 50% remain)
So, with those parts of Ealing Southall west of the River Brent and those parts of Ealing North north of the River Brent so marginal in Brexit terms, we can expect to see these two MPs keep totally quiet on Brexit. And, as we saw last night, the majority of Labour councillors (33 councillors in 11 wards that are substantially Leavey) want to change the subject too.
On the other hand Rupa Huq in Ealing Central and Acton can scream and scream until she is sick. Indeed she needs to make sure the LibDems donâ€™t take Remain votes off her so she has nothing to lose by doing this.
It is amazing though how voting patterns in the Borough are dictated by an ancient feature of physical geography â€“ the River Brent.