The independent London newspaper

Are you sure you want to leave the EU?

05 January, 2018

• SO there we have it. Jeremy Corbyn has finally and unequivocally come out in opposition to a second referendum on the United Kingdom’s continued membership of the European Union.

“We are formally leaving the EU, of course,” he said. But there is no “of course” about it. Back in September, Emily Thornberry, when pressed by the Tribune, said: “We are putting forward a position… which is that we have to leave the EU.” (‘Leave Brexit solution to us,’ says Emily, September 29). No, Emily. We do not “have to” leave.

Of course, there was a referendum, and the result, although perilously close, was clear. But, and it’s a huge but, does anybody now believe that the referendum wasn’t ill-conceived and poorly constructed? It was little more than a hoped-for, short-term solution to a long-term problem in the Conservative and Unionist Party, which failed.

Does anybody now believe the British people “spoke” in full possession of the facts? Does anybody now believe that the preposterous claims made on both sides during those fevered few weeks constituted rational, honest and rigorous public discourse? No, of course they don’t.

In Islington, the consequences of this catastrophe are too dire for too many people for our MPs to be blithely saying “of course” we “have to” leave without further ado.

Of course, what our leaders have to do now, whether in government or opposition, is pause, take a breath and say to the electorate: “Yes, you have spoken and, yes, we have heard you. But tell us this: are you sure?”

The Green Party is, of course, avowedly European in our history and our outlook, but we are also avowedly democratic.

The time has come for the British people to be given the opportunity to make an informed choice about our future relationship with the EU and it is a matter of regret that neither Islington MP seems willing to allow that to happen.

Green Party prospective parliamentary candidate, Islington South and Finsbury


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