Manchester City Council

Europe and Manchester

At today's City Council Executive meeting, following a minutes silence in respect for the victims of terrorism in Istanbul, for Jo Cox and for all the other victims of terrorism since the committee last met, I made the following statement on the outcome of the EU referendum.

Istanbul is an extreme example of the horror that comes out of divisive politics. Though not at the same level, we have seen that in this country, in this city, where racists and xenophobes seem to believe that the outcome of the referendum has given them license to attack and abuse those who seem different to them. It doesn't.

Can I say to all of those from the European Union and beyond that live, work and study in our city, you are welcome.

We value the contribution you make to our economy, to our public services especially the NHS, your tax revenues, but also to the rich diversity you bring to our city, a fundamental element of Manchester's renaissance.

To European owned businesses, and businesses who trade with Europe, you are welcome and we will do everything we can to ensure that it is business as usual here.

To the thugs and racists, you are not welcome, and unless you can abide by the values of this great city, it is you who should leave.

I am pleased that Manchester voted Remain and by a very large margin and the position adopted by the City Council should reflect that. However, ours is not a democracy that allows winners to trample over the rights of losers. In Manchester itself 40% of the vote was for Leave. In most of Greater Manchester there was a large majority for Leave.  Most of those voters are not racist bigots. They are ordinary, decent working people. Predominantly older people, they have legitimate concerns about how their world has changed and the impact of that on them. We have to respond to those feelings because if we do not, we will not build the economically and socially inclusive Manchester we dream of.

We do of course need to respect the decision made by the country as a whole, but understand that a decision made at the ballot box can be reversed at the ballot box, and as with any contract, there should be space to think again.

But if we are to leave the EU we should campaign for that exit to have as little impact as possible on the city and in particular that we should stay in the single market and retain free movement of labour. We, along with the rest of local government, need to demand our place at the table as negotiations take place.

Manchester will continue to build a better future for itself, as an international city and a proud European city. There is no other way.

Make a comment

There are 8 responses to “Europe and Manchester”

  1. Larry Says:

    Well said, Richard.

  2. Ian Says:

    I am a hard working decent in my mind person and I voted out for many reasons. Members of all parties have forgotten millions of people just like me the vast majority of people who voted out are not racist but should the elites not lisition to the mass of people it will happen again.

  3. franky Says:

    Is it true that the authority is givng large pay rises to its staff? especially when poverty in this city is at record levels

  4. Council worker Says:

    No the council is not giving huge pay rises to its staff - they have had a 1% pay rise for the last 3 years and nothing for the 3 years prior to that. It is however giving pay rises of up to 20% for senior management

  5. franky Says:

    How about putting 20mph on the road in cresswell grove at the junction with Lapwing Lane. Many motorists taks no notice of the small 20mph signs, but they would have no excuse with the one on the road.

  6. Carol Says:

    Are we likely to have any more blogs? It seems to have gone very quiet.

  7. Anon Says:


  8. Ian Wilmott Says:

    Thank you for representing the values that Manchester has always strived for; inclusion, diversity and unity. I am proud to live in a city open to the world and not afraid of people's realtivly small differences. No vote can deny our common decency and need to copperate with our European neighbours. Thank you Richard.



The blog of the leader of Manchester City Council, Councillor Richard Leese.

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