Brexit - the only democratic way out of this mess is a people's vote
I am writing this open letter to Gillian Keegan as a constituent on the subject of Brexit.
On Saturday, October 20, I and over 70 others from the Chichester area were among the estimated 700,000 people who demonstrated in London calling for a ‘People’s Vote’ on the outcome of the negotiations with the EU on Brexit. There were people of all ages and from all parts of the United Kingdom, from all political parties and none, who care passionately about the future of this country and the people in it, especially the young people, many of whom were not able to vote in the 2016 referendum, yet will be the most affected but its outcome. Of all the speeches made on the day, I thought the outstanding one was by your colleague Anna Soubry – full of passionate intensity.
We were united in feeling that the only democratic way out of the almighty mess we are now in is to put the question back to the people via a referendum on the outcome of the negotiations, with one of the options being to rescind Article 50 and remain in the EU.
Our group going by coach from Chichester included people who are active members of all main parties – your Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party, plus many who belong to no party.
We were united in our belief that the Government is intent on taking us out of the EU with either a bad deal that will do great harm to many parts of our economy or a ‘no deal’ that will be catastrophic for all parts of the economy, as confirmed by the Government’s own sectoral impact assessments.
There is no such thing as a ‘good Brexit deal’ or a ‘jobs-first Brexit’. I have tried several times, from yourself, and others supporting the Government’s line, to get an answer to the question ‘Please tell me one way that can be substantiated in which Brexit will benefit the UK economy’, but have never had an answer.
The evidence mounts daily that the only option that is in our country’s interest is to remain in the EU – we will never get a deal anywhere near as good as the one we already have. The NHS is already suffering significant damage as a result of Brexit.
Applications to work here from nursing staff from other EU countries have dropped by about 90 per cent and EU medical staff already here are already leaving in larger numbers than before, with many more planning to do so.
The negotiations in Brussels appear to be heading towards almost inevitable stalemate. There is no solution in sight to the Irish border question and time is rapidly running out, increasing the risk of us crashing out with no deal - an outcome that quite a few of your pro-Brexit colleagues seem to favour, whatever the damage to the UK.
As we enter the critical phase of the Brexit negotiations and of the debates/votes in the House of Commons over the next few weeks, I urge you to put the future of our country before loyalty to the Conservative Party and support a ‘People’s Vote’ when the time comes in Parliament.
John Wilton, York Road, Chichester