For David Davis and others to argue that in order for Brexit to mean Brexit we must pursue the hardest of Brexits is bizarreby Antoinette Sandbach / July 9, 2018 / Leave a comment
The resignation of David Davis, and two of his junior ministers, from their posts at the Department for Exiting European Union late last night is a sign of how fast the Brexiteer’s dreams are unravelling.
Vote Leave mastermind, Dominic Cummings, once asked whether Vote Leave “need(s) an exit plan, or does that simply provide an undefendable target and open an unwinnable debate for a non-government entity?”
Vote Leave itself went even further, saying that “the sole purpose of their organisation is to campaign to leave the European Union in this referendum.”
In other words, there was no plan being put to the public, just the high level objective: whether we should leave the EU.
This may have been right in terms of a political strategy to win the referendum, but it cripples the argument that the British public knew exactly what they were voting for, and that they demand a hard Brexit.
For David Davis and others to argue that in order for Brexit to mean Brexit we must pursue the hardest of Brexits is bizarre.
Not only is this incompatible with Vote Leave’s objectives and the closeness of the referendum result, it is also incompatible with economic reality.
Our markets are closely interconnected with those of our European partners, and the loss of this connectedness cannot be counterbalanced by trade deals with the rest of the world.
The fact of the matter is, when presented with these facts at Chequers, reality dawned on the Cabinet as a whole, and they agreed to seek a softer Brexit—and by implication that this softer stance would be compatible with the will of the people.
It is imperative that we deliver Brexit—the people voted for it and it is a matter of trust—but the referendum set the end, not the means.
The voters will punish any attempt to overturn the referendum, but they will also punish those who drive through a Brexit that risks their jobs and prosperity.
A middle ground must be found and the Chequers deal on Friday represents significant progress towards this.