Ian Shires

Liberal Democrat Councillor for Willenhall North Ward, Liberal Democrat Group Leader, Walsall MBC Learn more

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Our future should be in the hands of the people, not right wing Tories and the DUP

by Ian Shires on 12 March, 2019

Related imageOur country’s fate will tonight be decided by the right wing of the Conservative Party and the Democratic Unionist Party. That, really, is not a good place for us to be in. And let’s not forget those Labour MPs who will choose to back the deal to get us out of the EU. They are unlikely to face any consequences from their leadership for doing so.

They may take whatever fig leaf Theresa May has begged from EU leaders as the only way to keep Brexit alive. If the deal goes down tonight, the momentum is with those of us calling from a People’s Vote.

Let’s not forget that the deal itself is terrible. So much that has been kicked down the road. We have no idea what our future trading relationship would be like. It’s likely that that will be decided not by Theresa May, but by a future ERG backed Tory leader who wants to turn us into a regulation-light Singapore.

As I wrote in January:

For me, the worst thing is that it kicks so much down the road. We haven’t got a clue about what our future trading relationships with the EU and everyone else would look like.

Failure to reach a trade agreement before the end of the transition period could put us on a dash off the cliff edge at the end of next year. Except at that point we would be out of the EU with nothing we can do about it.

Don’t think the extreme No Dealers in the Conservative Party are going to give up fighting for that calamitous option if May manages to get her deal through. The moment of danger will not pass if we get a deal. That’s one of the many reasons why we need a People’s Vote.

MPs will be expected to vote with just a few hours’ debate on an agreement that was reached late last night. That’s not what you could call acceptable democratic scrutiny. The only fair way is to put it to the people.

Vince said that last night:

Midnight flits to Strasbourg and desperate late night Commons statements underline the chaos into which Project Brexit has descended.

It is time for Ministers to admit that this brinkmanship is fruitless. They cannot negotiate a better deal than being in the EU, because the UK is stronger inside as a full member.

The only way out of this crisis is to extend Article 50, and let the people choose between the Withdrawal Agreement and staying in the EU.

It is beyond doubt that any deal falls short of our current arrangements with the EU. Even a much softer deal which would keep us aligned with EU regulations would harm the country. This deal is a hard Brexit that doesn’t give us a clear way forward. I don’t want the country to take a leap into the dark because of the ideological preoccupations of the right wing of the Conservative Party. It is polite, and democratic, to put it to the public vote.

If you think the country deserves better, you don’t have long to make your voice heard. Join us. 


* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron’s Musings

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