A motion on the future of European nationals living in North Lanarkshire post-Brexit stirred up impassioned debate at the final council meeting of 2018.
Councillor Jordan Linden (SNP) called on the council to continue a welcoming motion for EU nationals, promote recruitment, maintain close ties with twin towns and cities on the continent and called on the UK Government to compensate for the loss of EU-funded employment programmes.
Councillor Stephen Bonnar (SNP) said that his partner was Polish and worried about her own future. The couple had been living in Ireland, but chose to return to Scotland to raise their daughter.
He said: “I wanted my child to have the wonderful birthright of a Scottish accent, which we all enjoy. But now we don’t know what will happen in the future.”
Councillor Bonnar added that his partner faced the same doubts as other EU nationals in North Lanarkshire as the UK prepared for “the biggest bit of self-sabotage ever performed by a nation”.
The motion was opposed by the Conservative group, with leader Meghan Gallacher tabling an amendment. It called for the council to take the same actions, but replace a paragraph calling for a general election with one describing the Scottish Government’s approach to Brexit as “fully motivated by its desire to engineer an unwanted second divisive vote on Scottish independence” and arguing against another Scottish independence referendum.
Miss Gallacher said: “On June 23, 2016, this country voted to leave the EU. Brexit means Brexit and all this discussion is just more scaremongering from the SNP.”
She added that nationalists were trying to cause “the maximum amount of constitutional chaos in their pursuit of another independence referendum”.
Councillor Nathan Wilson (Con) pointed out that Brexit had been supported by 17.4 million voters.
Councillors voted in favour of the composite motion by a margin of 60 votes to six.