The independent London newspaper

A deal with the EU is still necessary

13 December, 2018

• THERE is an amazing number of suggestions swirling around in the discussions about Brexit. Anyone would think that we have not been through a process to reach a deal with the European Union.

It’s important to keep in mind that we have. Parliament voted to have a referendum with two options Remain or Leave the EU; 72 per cent of the electorate voted and the result was Leave.

Both main political parties said they would honour the result and both included a commitment to implement the leave vote in their subsequent manifestos.

The two main parties got 80 per cent of the vote in the election which followed. Parliament then voted to pass Article 50 with 544 voting in favour.

The UK now has deal with the EU. The deal needs more work on it, particularly on the so-called backstop. If the present draft is eventually voted down by MPs amendments need to be made and further negotiations held with the EU.

It would be very unreasonable of the EU not to continue the discussions. But we must remember that the problem is the deal not the process we chose to get it.

Some people are suggesting that we hold another referendum. Why? For those who support Leave, and some that do not, another referendum would shatter their belief in UK democracy. Remainers can’t even agree on the aims of another referendum or what would be on the ballot paper.

It would result in more delays, more uncertainty, more expense, damage to UK industry, more distraction from the massive problems facing the United Kingdom, and an even more divided country.

Ex-prime minister Tony Blair was asked on The Andrew Marr Show what he would do if another referendum resulted in a vote to leave.

Mr Blair said, well that would be that if the country voted Leave I would support that and work to implement it. But it’s already happened Mr Blair. We’ve had a referendum and the people voted Leave. So why don’t you support it?

It is madness for the Labour Party leadership to say that another referendum might be inevitable or that we are sliding toward another referendum.

They cannot say what the outcome would be. It could be a tie, what then? Let’s go forward and focus on the key problem which is the deal and negotiate one that’s acceptable to the UK.

And let’s not forget what happened to the Liberal Democrats when the leadership betrayed their supporters and put the Conservatives in power – virtually wiped out at the next general election.

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