Happy No-Brexit Day!
Two years ago, Theresa May pronounced the 29th March 2019 at 11pm as the hour that the UK would leave the EU amid a fanfare of glory. Today we were to wake up to a brave new world of Global Britain, with new trade deals with the United States, China, and better versions of all our existing deals covered by the EU. We were to start spending the ‘Brexit dividend’ on the NHS. And we were to have months of calm and rest before this momentous day because according to our Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox it would be the “easiest deal in human history”.
Yesterday, Parliament decisively rejected the only credible Brexit plan for the third time. Theresa May’s premiership is over in all but name, her deal is dead, and a long Article 50 extension is now inevitable. And on Wednesday, when MPs voted on alternatives, a People’s Vote received the highest support. It will take just a dozen MPs to switch and a few to change from abstaining for there to be a majority for a second referendum. That is what will now happen, it is a just a matter of time.
As I set out in my speech in the House of Lords last week, this is because Brexit is fundamentally not a viable proposition. It is not possible to negotiate a Brexit that meets the promises that were made in the referendum campaign. Theresa May and her government have been virtually destroyed for trying, and so will any successor. The only way forward is not to proceed with Brexit.
Because it is so clear that Brexit has imploded, the momentum is now all going towards a People’s Vote, as I set out in my interview on Sky News on Friday. We are being asked to leave all the benefits of the European Union for a mess of pottage, and the right thing to now do is revoke, referendum, and reform.
This week I also appeared on Love Sport Radio for their Pint Sized Politics programme, which you can listen to here. My tour of the country continued amid all the parliamentary chaos, and in the last week I spoke at Newcastle College, Northumbria University, and Grimsby.
There is much more to come next week: I will be speaking in Southampton on Monday, Guildford on Tuesday, John Hampden Grammar School in High Wycombe on Wednesday, and at the Cambridge Literary Festival on Friday.