This article was first published on EU Reporter.
Members of the European Parliament should beware of those arguing for the final Brexit deal to be put to yet another EU Referendum in Britain. The Government must not accept this if it wants to get the best deal for the United Kingdom, and the European Parliament must not argue for this if it wants the best deal for the EU.
In addition to being an affront to democracy, a second referendum would lead to massive uncertainty and give EU leaders every incentive to take the hardest line imaginable with Britain. The motivation is obvious – a bad deal would be offered in the hope UK voters will flinch at what’s on offer, and choose to remain in the EU or accept EU membership by the backdoor in the form of remaining in the Single Market.
The Great British Public have already spoken. Now is the time for the Government to be allowed to negotiate with confidence and deliver a good deal for Brexit Britain.
The Liberal Democrats have become the noisiest cheerleaders in the UK for a second referendum – while only having one MEP in the European Parliament. However, they are clearly trying to use Brexit as a cynical electoral ploy to raise their profile, rather than an attempt to achieve the best deal for Britain. Unfortunately, they were supported by some in the House of Lords during the passage of the Article 50 Bill, those who want to divide the country across Brexit lines, instead of accepting the democratic decision of the public.
They say ‘people didn’t know what they were voting for’. But they did. The rationale for voting ‘Leave’ was clear. Control over our laws, control over our borders and control over our money. As a result, the UK must leave the EU and the Single Market in order for the result of the referendum to be implemented.
Democracy is the platform on which British society rests. This means the people decide who governs them, and how they are governed. Membership of the EU was clearly a matter of constitutional importance – and the Great British Public exercised their veto. The 17.4 million people who voted ‘Leave’ in the referendum demanded the EU should no longer create their laws. This must be respected.
Having a second EU referendum would throw these democratic principles into the waste basket.
Only by negotiating a free-trade deal with the EU would be compatible with the result. As such, this is our only option. Another vote on whether to accept the deal or remain in either the EU or the Single Market would be totally pointless.
Remaining a member of the Single Market would be completely incompatible with the decision to leave the EU on June 23rd, as ‘membership’ would also include the EU’s freedom of movement rules. What we are asking for is ‘access’, which doesn’t require this.
Talk of a second referendums brings insecurity and would not help the currently fragile Eurozone, opening it up to even more hardship, at the very moment the green shoots of growth begin to sprout.
European politicians should be very wary of encouraging further referenda. Keeping the UK inside the EU would allow the EU to keep spending at its current rate, with this insecurity wiping out any of the possible benefits. With our own financial concerns, the UK would never remain happy with the EU’s apparent disregard for financial constraints and with seemingly unlimited spending capabilities.
For many years, the EU has had to fight against the narrative of being systematically undemocratic, and this tactic reinforces the EU’s fundamental failings. This increases the tide of populism and continues to jeopardise the European project.
The political movement to Get Britain Out was always about getting the best relationship with Europe for the UK, and not cutting ourselves off, as some have suggested. We decided we want a loose trading relationship rather than political union. The EU should embrace this in the spirit of goodwill, rather than reacting in anger. By acknowledging EU membership simply does not work for Great Britain, the EU could survive and make Brexit an economic and political success for Europe, rather than an unfettered disaster.