The independent London newspaper

Joke will be on us if we crash out of EU on April Fool’s Day

11 May, 2018

• ON Tuesday, the House of Lords voted to include an amendment to the EU Withdrawal Bill requiring the government to include as a negotiating objective an international agreement that will enable the UK to continue to participate in the European Economic Area (EEA) after exit day.

Inexplicably, the Labour Party whipped their lords to abstain. In the event, 83 Labour peers ignored the whip and voted for the amendment. Bravo!

I suppose it is too much to expect the Labour leadership to reconsider their ridiculous position and allow their MPs to vote for the amendment when it comes to the House of Commons.

If so, then Labour will reap the same anger as the government if we crash out of the EU with disastrous consequences. There really isn’t time any time left for poncing about with “ideal positions”.

Very soon we are set to become a “Third Country” in EU terms: end of story. Trade will be disrupted, the economy faces meltdown and the very real probability that our food supply chain will be so badly hit that rationing will be needed. If so, we can expect riots and prolonged civil disorder.

Staying aligned with the EU by remaining in the EEA would allow us a framework to maintain essential trade and provide a forum for continuing discussions with the EU. It would also help to stave off the whole Irish border question.

MPs of all parties must square the question of supporting the national interest over loyalty to party. There really isn’t any time left to carry on arranging the deckchairs.

If an agreement is not reached at the EU’s June meeting then it is highly likely we will crash out on April Fool’s Day 2019 and the joke will be on us.



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