My latest Farmers Guardian Article
After almost 3 years of debate and with Brexit sucking the life out of public policy, the country should now be starting a brave new journey as an independent nation outside the EU.
Indeed, we should now be starting the negotiations on the future relationship with the EU, according to those who championed this agenda. Instead, we’re in the midst of a national crisis with the Withdrawal Agreement failing to gain Parliamentary support on three occasions. Such a situation is surely unprecedented in the history of our democracy.
Given the uncertainty at the present moment, it is difficult to see what the future holds for the country. We have an extension until the 12th April but what happens after that is still unclear. If we can’t find a way forward, we could fall out of the EU on the 12th without a deal, unless Parliament acts to stop such a thing.
Given the Parliamentary arithmetic, it looks increasingly likely the Prime Ministers deal won’t get a majority unless there are changes to the Political declaration which Opposition Parties can agree to, given some on her own benches and the DUP seem determined to be set against the Prime Ministers Withdrawal Agreement.
What is clear more than ever is people want clarity, industry desperately needs it, farmers desperately need it. Both need to know what sort of trading environment they will face next week or next month, never mind next year. Both need to know what rules will apply. Yet at the moment there are no answers to these or the myriad of other concerns people have and that just isn’t good enough. The only thing we can say for certain is that any deal negotiated will be worse than the deal we currently enjoy.
I have been consistent that any deal agreed by Parliament should be put to the people, including the one negotiated by Theresa May. I still believe if she had offered this some time ago there would have been a Parliamentary majority for it, a point I have made directly to her on numerous occasions.
I think now more than ever a confirmatory vote by the people is needed. given that the simple Brexit promised in 2016 doesn’t now seem possible. If Theresa May can change her mind, if Parliament can change its mind, then surely the people have the right to change their mind too.