The NUS has expressed its support for a national referendum on the final Brexit deal, also referred to as a ‘People’s Vote’. This came after Labour MPs voted in favour of a second referendum at the annual Party Conference in Liverpool.
This may involve voting in favour of or against any final Brexit deal which is due to be finalised in March 2019.
Public support has increased over the summer, and in July became the majority public preference.
42% of Britons believed there should be a referendum on the terms of a final Brexit deal, with 40% against this proposal, according to YouGov.
A perceived lack of consideration for the position of the further education system post-Brexit is of particular concern for the NUS and students alike.
This also includes concern for international students and the already-complex process of their overseas study.
The NUS has said that “EU students will bear the brunt of repercussions; fees could be upped to £20,000 in some cases as EU students are forced to pay standard international rates, and universities are expecting a 60% fall in student numbers in response, meaning courses at prominent universities may close”.
Responding to the Labour Party Conference vote, Vice President (Higher Education) of the NUS, Amatey Doku said: “It is my generation that history will remember as the Brexit generation: the ones who have the most to lose. For that reason, and that reason alone, we deserve a final say on the final deal.
“With Labour now supporting us the impetus is undeniable, the reality unavoidable, and the case indisputable. We will now call on the Government to give the people what they truly want, and grant us a People’s Vote on the Brexit deal.”
The People’s Vote is a national campaign launched by four MPs this year and lead by Labour’s Chuka Umunna. It calls for a referendum on any finalised Brexit deal.
A number of high-profile marches were organised by the group, including a march to mark the two-year anniversary of the original Brexit vote – June 23 2018. This was attended by numerous celebrities and political figures.
The desire for this second referendum is bipartisan and publically supported by a range of MPs.
Included in this list are Vince Cable, Tim Farron (Lib Dems); David Lammy, Owen Smith (Labour); Justine Greening and Anna Soubry (Conservatives), as well as the Green Party’s co-leader, Caroline Lucas.
While the support overwhelmingly comes from the Labour Party, it is evidently shared across party lines.
Other institutions have similarly expressed public support for a second referendum.
In early September, a survey of the trade unions Unite, UNISON and GMB was conducted to establish their views on the issue.
Members of the UK’s biggest Union, Unite, were found to support the proposal of a second referendum by 59% to 33%, while GMB members voted 56% to 33% in support of a people’s vote.
UNISON voted 66% to 22%, according to The Guardian.
General student engagement with the politics of Brexit has been consistently high, with a student turnout of 87%, 85% of which voted to remain, according to YouthSight.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons: ilovetheeu