UK local council votes to back Brexit in referendum

UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage addresses guests during the launch of the "Grassroots Out", a new cross-party group that will campaign for the UK to leave the European Union (AFP Photo/Leon Neal)
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London (AFP) - A local council in London became the first in Britain to endorse leaving the European Union in a vote.

Havering Council in east London voted by 30 to 15 in favour of a motion tabled by a councillor from the eurosceptic UK Independence Party (UKIP), led by Nigel Farage.

"It is a fantastic result," said the UKIP councillor, Lawrence Webb. "We as local councillors have to make decisions on rules and regulations that come out of the EU. They have a direct impact on local services."

Havering Council is controlled by the Conservatives.

Prime Minister David Cameron called a referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union after winning last year's general election.

The vote is expected to be held this year and opinion polls currently point to a small lead for those who want out of the EU.

Councils are not obliged to take a position on whether they want to remain in the EU ahead of the referendum and votes will only take place where individual councillors table motions on the issue.