The result of the Student Union’s all-student vote is in. 82.9% of the 3,755 who voted said ‘Yes’ to SUSU campaigning for a People’s Vote, or second referendum, on Brexit.
3,755 represents a turnout of 17.9%, far surpassing the 10% threshold which was required for the vote to have a binding effect on the activities of the Students’ Union. The result of the vote will now be implemented immediately, with three sabbatical officers, Acting President and VP Sports Steve Gore, VP Student Communities and President-elect Emily Harrison and VP Democracy and Creative Industries Evie Reilly, attending the London People’s Vote march tomorrow. The timing of the vote was partly determined by the forthcoming march.
In the blog post announcing the result, other future actions of SUSU following the ‘Yes’ vote were outlined:
- Contacting the MPs for Romsey and Southampton North, Southampton Test, Southampton Itchen and Winchester, and proceeding to ‘lobby them on your behalf to support a people’s vote’. Caroline Nokes, MP for Romsey and Southampton North, and Stephen Brine, MP for Winchester, are current members of the government, holding the positions of Immigration Minister and parliamentary undersecretary for Public Health and Primary Care respectively.
- Contacting the national student-led For Our Future’s Sake campaign to ‘work with them going forwards’.
- Continuing to facilitate debate and discussion for all our members, ‘including giving a platform to campaigns both for and against a second referendum on Brexit’.
In a moment of rare agreement, both the University of Southampton Labour and Conservative student societies have criticised and called into question the holding of an all-student vote on Twitter, raising concerns about the turnout threshold and the Conservatives questioning the legal status of SUSU to endorse a political campaign. Responding on Twitter to one tweet from the Conservatives, Acting Union President Steve Gore made clear that ‘to imply what we are doing is illegal is simply inaccurate’. Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Society treasurer Sam David Harris told Wessex Scene:
The society supports SUSU in their call for a second referendum. The Liberal Democrats have a strong history in supporting democracy and opposing Brexit, which is widely believed to be damaging to the economy. I personally find it comical that both the Conservatives and Labour have failed to support SUSU in the results of a democratic election due to the turnout when their own parties rarely hold an outright majority of the population after general elections.
On the wider national scale, a House of Commons petition to revoke Article 50 launched only two days ago, had already gathered more than 3.7 million signatures by 09:30PM on 22nd March.