The Independent London Newspaper


LETTERS: There’s no mandate for the Brexit that’s now looming

Published: 27 January, 2017

• WHAT a relief that one of our elected representatives in the Labour Party is speaking out forthrightly about the benefits of EU membership and the perils of Brexit (Victims of hard Brexit, January 20). Heaven knows we need strong opposition to stop this runaway train.

The Brexit that the government is ploughing ahead with is nothing like what many Leave voters were voting for last June, let alone everyone else. There was a widespread supposition at the time that Brexit would mean some kind of associate relationship with the EU, like Norway’s or Switzerland’s. Who heard any mention of becoming a deregulated tax haven like Singapore?

Many people were, in reality, very perplexed about how to vote. Some finally voted Leave because of the promise (quickly broken) about the one institution they cared about most, the NHS. Others did so because they were fed up with David Cameron: that was quickly sorted. 

But a lot ended up not voting at all. We shouldn’t put this down to apathy. Many honestly couldn’t make up their minds which way to vote, given all the hyperbole and misrepresentation and the sheer complexity of the issues – and who can blame them?

Even in supposedly staunch pro-Brexit areas, large numbers of people voted Remain or withheld their vote. So, with less than 38 per cent of the electorate nationally voting for Brexit, there’s nothing to justify claims of a solid mandate for Brexit, still less the kind of Brexit now looming.

The EU, which Britain has done so much to shape, has brought huge advantages to our country, economically, socially, environmentally and politically. Let’s not wake up to this only when it’s all lost. 

Even now, we don’t have to go ahead with it. We look to our elected representatives to put the national interest ahead of party. There will be no thanks for those who allow it to happen.

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