I may be flattering Ms Mordaunt (not my intention) but her use of the word “re-done” is actually quite interesting. I haven’t heard this terminology before. Let’s look at what it might mean.
Brexit started immediately after the Referendum on 23rd June 2016. But the real start date was 13th July the same year when Theresa May took over. “Getting Brexit Done” may have been Mrs May’s successor’s slogan but it started with Mrs May – “Brexit means Brexit” as she put it.
So in theory if Brexit is to be “re-done” that could mean going back to the start – to when it began to be “Done” under Theresa May. If we do that then all the options in play at that time come back into play – including holding a second referendum.
The 2016 Referendum was advisory and many argued that a confirmatory second referendum would seal the deal. It didn’t happen, of course, but despite our having left the EU there is nothing to stop it happening now.
Let’s premise that to “re-do“ Brexit we need to first of all reconfirm that to leave the EU is still the will of the British people. The argument is hugely strengthened by the fact that now, in contrast to in 2016, we know what being outside the EU means. We have eighteen months of life outside the European Union to reference.
If a confirmatory referendum is held there are two possible outcomes:
(1) The public gives Brexit its continued support but to a “Leave” proposition strengthened by a presentation of Brexit benefits based on the experience of eighteen months.
(2) The public rejects Brexit and chooses to return Britain to EU membership.
In the event that (1) is chosen “re-do” has a firm foundation on which to act. The arguments of “benefits” versus “disadvantages” will have been thoroughly debated. Changes to the Withdrawal Agreement will have been considered and surely the EU would agree given that the British people have confirmed their wishes.
In the event that we choose (2) again there would be a very sound basis for the necessary EU negotiations. The detail would need to be worked out but again the direction is clear. In effect “Re-do” Brexit becomes “Undo Brexit”.
Brexit has bedevilled British politics for too long and Penny Mordaunt knows that. The public chose narrowly to leave the EU six years ago but there has never been a united “buy in” to this, even less so in these continued days of political turmoil and government mendacity. The argument that we need to “re-do” Brexit is a strong one. The only way to do this is with a confirmatory referendum.
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