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‘I’m devastated’: London MEP and Belsize councillor Luisa Porritt bids EU farewell on Brexit night

PUBLISHED: 17:14 31 January 2020 | UPDATED: 22:57 31 January 2020

Luisa Porritt was elected as an MEP in May last year. Picture: Emilie Gomez

Luisa Porritt was elected as an MEP in May last year. Picture: Emilie Gomez

© European Union 2020 - Source : EP

Outgoing London MEP and Belsize councillor Luisa Porritt has bid farewell to the EU ahead of Brexit being confirmed tonight (January 31, 11pm).

Cllr Porritt (third from right) with Liberal Democrats MEPs and UK students. Picture: Luisa PorrittCllr Porritt (third from right) with Liberal Democrats MEPs and UK students. Picture: Luisa Porritt

Elected to the European Parliament eight months ago, Cllr Porritt said she was "devastated" over the UK officially leaving the EU, but was "proud" of her achievements in office, such as fighting for the release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe from prison in Iran.

On Wednesday, Cllr Porritt voted in vain against what she described as a "rotten" Brexit Withdrawal Agreement that was ratified by a significant majority (621 to 49) of the EU Parliament.

After the vote, she held hands with other MEPs and sang Auld Lang Syne - written by Scottish poet Robert Burns in 1788 - as a final goodbye.

Ms Porritt told the Ham&High: "I feel devastated for our country about all we will be leaving behind - our closest friends with whom we share common values and an ambition to improve the lives of 500 million Europeans.

Camden's local economy would be hit by Brexit, said Cllr Porritt. Picture: Harry TaylorCamden's local economy would be hit by Brexit, said Cllr Porritt. Picture: Harry Taylor

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"I've been proud to have focused my time as an MEP on standing up for people in Camden who overwhelmingly wanted us to stay in the EU, as did other Londoners.

"I'm also glad I had the opportunity to raise Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe's case at the European level and that colleagues of mine have committed to continue to call for her release after I have left."

In anticipation of Brexit, Prime Minister Boris Johnson has labelled the UK's departure a "new dawn" and an opportunity for the UK to move forwards following the 2016 referendum.

But Ms Porritt said Brexit would weaken the rights of the 24,000 residents living in Camden.

She said: "This Tory Brexit deal is particularly bad for Camden, where a large number of our European friends and neighbours are set to lose their rights once the transition period expires at the end of this year.

"Leaving the single market will harm Camden's local economy, which is highly dependent on services. And we are still at risk of a disastrous no deal scenario in 10 months' time."

In the 2016 referendum, 74.9 per cent (71,295) of Camden voters opted for remain. Across the UK, 51.9pc (17,410,742) voted to leave.


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