The UK was supposed to leave the EU on the 29th of March but, in a result that is totally in keeping with the shambolic nature of every other element of Brexit so far, Theresa May’s second, revised, exit plan was rejected by 391 votes to 242. This defeat comes after her previous plan was rejected in January by 230 votes; the largest defeat in parliamentary history. The result doesn’t come as a huge surprise. May has no majority in parliament, and our MPs are only happy to criticise without actually agreeing on what our exit strategy should be - hard Brexit, soft Brexit, or something in the middle - let alone what should be included in a withdrawal agreement. MP’s have agreed to ask the EU to allow us to extend the departure date until June, which is a relief, because a no deal exit would be a disaster. Leaving without a deal would inevitably result in a drop in employment, a drop in exports, and a big rise in prices, coupled with the dropping pound lending us less purchasing power. Bumbling Boris still believes we have the upper hand, calling on MP’s to again reject May’s plan, accusing the EU of treating us with ‘contempt,’ as though they aren’t right to. Although I’m loathe to admit it, Michael Gove is one of the only MP’s talking any sense, recognising the catastrophe that leaving with a no deal would inevitably be. We’ve been pushing article 50 back and pushing it back whilst May desperately fights to allow us to leave in the most advantageous way possible, despite the obvious. But isn’t it time to look at what Brexit has actually done for our country so far?
Huge companies like Panasonic, Easyjet and Sony are moving staff, warehouses and assets overseas, because who could have predicted that ‘project fear’ wasn’t the fearmongering that leave voters dismissed it as and was actually an accurate prediction of the very serious repercussions of Brexit? As for adamant leave supporter Jacob Rees Mogg’s investment firm Somerset Capital Management, they launched a new investment fund in Dublin following the Brexit result. Dozens of banks and financial companies are also moving staff and an estimated £800 billion in assets out of Britain. Philip Hammond confirmed that £4.2 billion has been set aside for Brexit. The Centre for European Reform estimate our economy is 2.5% smaller as a result of the vote, meaning we’re losing out on over £40 billion a year and causing a slowdown of our economy. Not to mention May’s withdrawal agreement also commits the UK to paying an estimated £39 billion "divorce bill”. Imagine if we had invested all of the money, time and resources that Brexit has taken into areas that really need it. This money could be going into our schools, into our NHS, into tackling the soaring knife crime which is a direct result of funding being cut and police officers and community and drugs workers being taken off our streets. Instead, it is being poured into a Brexit-shaped sinkhole.
The government must fix its own mistake. A second referendum is not the way forward. The European Court of Justice has ruled that, provided it was voted upon democratically in parliament, the UK could cancel Article 50. The government must have the confidence to do this. It’s time to pull out. The only egos hurt would be leave campaigners, and this serves them right; they ran an illegal, immoral campaign. It’s time they realised the nonsense that they promised us simply isn’t achievable.