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My Brexit Journey by David Kendall – Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Candidate for Brentwood & Ongar

September 30, 2019 7:17 PM
By David Kendall

EU flag & bird of libertyWhichever way you voted at the EU referendum one thing most people can agree on is that the Conservative Governments under Theresa May and now Boris Johnson have made a complete mess of Brexit.

It will come as a surprise to many of you when I tell you that I was one of the 17.4 million people who voted leave at the referendum three years ago. At the time, I was like many other people whose vote could have easily gone either way. In the end, I voted leave with a heavy heart because - based on all the information provided - I thought we would probably be better off out of the EU. However as time has passed I am prepared to admit I got it wrong.

I now see the whole EU saga as a bit like buying a house.

When you go to buy a house it's easy to be taken in by all it visually has to offer. It's only when you have the house survey done that you can get some nasty suprises and realise some key issues that you weren't aware of before. The survey on the EU has now been done and we all have far more facts and information at our disposal than we ever had before. Back in 2016 I don't remember anyone talking about the 'Irish Backstop' but now it's a major stumbling block in trying to agree a deal. I have also seen many other things promised by the Leave campaign that have not materialised. Most people now accept that trying to break away from an institution we have been a member of for over forty years is not as easy as some would like us to believe. The reality is even if this Government manages to secure a deal, this whole Brexit saga is going to keep on running for many years to come as this is the start of the process not the end.

Whilst the result of the EU referendum was for the UK to leave, it didn't say on what basis. If a deal can be found that commands a majority in Parliament then Brexit will happen. However I am not convinced that it will be possible to get a majority for a deal. There is clearly no majority in Parliament for a no deal Brexit. Consequently the most sensible option must be to go back to the people with a second referendum and put 'the deal' up against the poption of staying in the EU. Parliament must then accept the result of the second referendum and put this matter to bed once and for all.

The EU is far from perfect and certainly needs reforming but I am now firmly of the view that we should definitely remain in the EU and reform it from within.

The Liberal Democrat position on Brexit