Belfast Telegraph

Royal College of Nursing votes for referendum on final Brexit deal

The move, proposed by the Greater Glasgow group, mandated the organisation to lobby the Government on the issue.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) has voted for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.

The resolution at the group’s annual meeting in Belfast was passed by 364 votes to 163.

It had been proposed by the body’s Greater Glasgow group and mandated the organisation to lobby the Government on the issue.

The RCN remained neutral in 2016 when the first Brexit referendum was passed and one member at Tuesday’s meeting argued it should have remained so.

But the vote makes it the first major trade union to support a second referendum.

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The call came from the body's Greater Glasgow group (Peter Byrne/PA)

RCN chief executive Janet Davies said consultation with the RCN’s wider membership could be required before it would formally adopt such a position.

“It is clear this is about knowing what it is.

“I think it is good that we are involved in it as a College.

“We are dealing with quite a lot of questions and issues and I am really pleased that people have decided to debate it.”

She said since the Leave vote, nurses were not coming to the UK from Europe in the numbers that they were.

“It is not about in or out. It is about a deal and whichever way you look at that, whatever your politics is, then it is not quite as contentious.

“We don’t want to alienate our own membership, we are a membership organisation.”

MPs will get a “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons on Prime Minister Theresa May’s terms negotiated for leaving the EU.

Neither the Conservatives nor Labour back carrying out another poll.

The UK is due to leave the EU in March 2019, irrespective of whether MPs back or reject the terms of the deal negotiated by the Government.

The RCN debate was held in Northern Ireland, which shares a land border with the Republic of Ireland and it is one of the most vexed issues facing Brexit negotiators.

The RCN’s UK steward Kevin Bell said: “No-one from the North of Ireland was facilitated to speak.

“We are the most affected part of the UK when Brexit comes in.”

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