Angry, bereft or just plain sad

Bewildered, angry, bereft or just plain sad at the selfishness of the decision of June 23: that’s what one month on from the Brexit vote, many of us who wanted to stay in the EU feel.

However we must work to minimise the damage the Brexit vote has already caused and will cause, to hold our country open and united and keep alive the chance of staying in the EU if people so decide.

In the Brexit negotiations, we want to see a soft Brexit, not a hard one. We would argue for:

• Access to the single market to benefit our economy.

• Free movement so our young people in particular, have opportunities to live, work and travel in the rest of Europe.

• Cooperation with the EU on solving cross border problems such as terrorism, migration, and climate change.

• Influence in the EU rather than being like Norway, paying the price but not at the negotiating table.

Such an outcome would not be as good as staying in the EU and would be hard to achieve, because many Brexiteers would oppose it, including UKIP, large numbers of Conservatives, and our right wing press.

We also need to salve the wounds, exposed and worsened by the referendum.

We need to make migration work for all, which merely quitting the EU will not solve.

We also need to unite our country, to keep Scotland in the union, prevent a hard border being introduced between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, fight mounting racial tension and ensure our efforts to combat climate change are not stymied.

There are two sensible and democratic actions we should push for. First, the Government should secure Parliament’s approval on its Brexit negotiating position before triggering formal divorce talks. Given that the Leave camp refused to spell out what Brexit meant during the campaign, it is vital that our MPs help define it. Pressing the Article 50 button without doing so would in my view be illegal.

Second, there should be a referendum on the Brexit terms once they have been negotiated. Why? Simply because the Leave camp refused to say what Brexit would mean and promised things that are almost certainly undeliverable.

The British people should therefore be asked if they still want to leave when they see what is on offer.

Stephen Hardy

George Close


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