PPI News

Are you sick of the Brexit debate – I know I am?Unfortunately this is going to shape our country for the next decade or more.

I voted for the EU referendum in the hope that a clear decision would lance the boil of this painful and divisive issue. Regrettably that is the last thing it has done and divisions run deeper than ever before.

If the Chequers Agreement is broadly agreed by the EU and we leave on that basis, this will honour the 2016 vote. In full. We will have left the EU without wrecking the economy. But it seems that the ardent leavers will only accept a clean break. Shouts of “betrayal” will continue – and it will harm my party politically. Our response should be to govern well for the next 3 1/2 years, hopefully demonstrating that we have truly left the EU and lay out a positive vision for post-Brexit Britain.

If the Chequers Agreement is rejected by the EU, our problems get even worse. I do not think Parliament would accept further dilution. Presumably we would then head for a no-deal Brexit of which most businesses in my constituency are terrified – because of the inevitable period of disruption, which could last two months or two years, characterised by queues at ports and airports. Tariffs and non-tariff barriers would spring up across the board.  It is by no means clear that the Commons would vote for no-deal. This would leave us in no-man’s land caught on the barbed wire with howitzers thundering all around. It is possible that the House might in such circumstances even vote for NO Brexit! And then what…

The suggestion of a second three-question referendum is interesting, but how would we avoid the disgraceful, deceitfuldebate of last time – surely nobody wants that. The lack of respect for the other person’s point of view is so deeply disappointing. 

Our current political structure has been found wanting in how to convert the decision of the people in 2016 into policy. Our two main parties are broad churches – perhaps too broad. I find myself in a party with scores of MPs who see the world very differently. This makes it harder to agree on a common policy position. Perhaps it is time for a re-alignment in British politics. 

This will not help us resolve our excruciating dilemmas of the next twelve months. But after that - some re-alignment looks on the cards.