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Caroline Lucas: Time for Brighton to quit UK

Green Party co-leader and Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas has called upon Prime Minister Theresa May to grant Brighton its own independence referendum.

In a speech last week to supporters at Tonto House, Ms Lucas said that Brexit and the Conservatives’ “oppressive” policies have made remaining part of the UK untenable.

She said: “The Tories are threatening the future of our health service and are pushing the country towards a future of isolationism.

“Enough is enough! It is time for Brighton to leave the United Kingdom and decide our own independent future.”

Ms Lucas suggested that an independent Brighton city-state could join the European Union and eventually adopt the euro, with the country’s economy being supported by tourism, tech start-ups and hipsters.

She added: “Brighton has had a separate cultural identity for several decades now, and it is clear that government in Westminster wants to take our region down a path Brightonians did not want or vote for.”

The independence vote is planned to take place on April 1 next year, with the city’s ‘independence day’ taking place on March 29 2019, the day the rest of Britain will officially leave the EU.

Labour MP for Hove Peter Kyle is also calling for a similar vote, asking residents whether they should join an independent Brighton or remain part of the United Kingdom.

Mr Kyle said in response to Ms Lucas’ announcement: “Whilst the region has always had a close relationship with England and the United Kingdom, I believe that the current circumstances demand that a vote on secession take place within the next 24 months.”

The announcement comes after Nicola Sturgeon suggested that a second Scottish referendum could take place as early as autumn next year, as she claims that the vote for Brexit has changed Scotland’s relationship with the rest of the UK.

A document, released to coincide with the event, titled Brighton’s Future, showed the intention for an independent Brighton to abolish the monarchy, legalise all drugs and rename the Brighton Palace Pier to the Independence Pier.

The proposed name of the new state, should Hove also vote to join Brighton in leaving, would be the People’s Republic of Brighton and Hove.

Thousands of Brighton and Hove residents called for independence under the same name in the wake of the 2015 general election.

Polling on the issue of independence for the area by think-tank DummKopf showed support for breaking away as high as 60%. Support was even higher in areas that strongly voted Green at the last general election.

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