At Renew, we believe the country needs to stop the Brexit process and restore our position in Europe as a full member so we can continue to share the benefits of cooperation and better address our problems at the national level. Brexit is further polarising the country, damaging our relationship with major allies, distracting us from renewing the country and hurting cooperation in vital areas.
Pursuing Brexit – at what cost? The false promise of brexit is now becoming clearer.
We’re not gaining freedom, we’re losing freedom to live, work & travel easily and cheaply in Europe.
We’re not gaining rights, we’re losing rights’ protections from the EU and our EU citizenship rights.
We’re not taking back control, we’re losing control of decision-making in 40 EU agencies.
We’re not gaining influence, we’re losing influence at the table with major world leaders.
We’re not gaining trade, we’re losing trade with our biggest trading partners.
We’re not gaining money for the NHS, we’re losing money as our growth is reduced.
Brexit is hurting us in many ways, including economically – the uncertainty it created is holding back investment. Prices are higher, growth is lower and public finances are tighter. We’re already poorer due to Brexit. And we haven’t even left yet.
This is likely to continue, as the Government’s own assessments show. As investment goes elsewhere, the UK will diminish as an economic and influential power, and UK citizens will experience an erosion of living standards.
Brexit will not deliver what was promised. It is far from the easy, painless process that was sold to the British public and it is already distracting the government and civil service from addressing real problems in the UK. The benefits of being outside the EU are still not clear. And the EU has shown it will prioritise the interests of the 27 member states over ours.
The EU has stressed we cannot ‘have our cake and eat it’ – enjoying EU benefits without responsibilities. Government proposals so far are unrealistic and contradictory. The UK cannot leave the Single Market and Customs Union and at the same time, preserve frictionless trade and cooperation – unless we create complex and expensive new infrastructure, bureaucracy, legislative systems and regulations. For any free trade deal, we will still need to harmonise standards to ensure a level playing field.
We cannot sustain an open border with Ireland in support of the peace agreement, while outside the customs union – unless there’s a new border between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. We will not be able to spend an extra £350m a week on the NHS with a weakened economy. We will not be able to reduce immigration meaningfully and also ensure businesses have access to the skills they need. As a non-member, we will no longer be a decision-making member of 40 agencies in crucial areas which include medicines regulation, food safety, environmental protection.
We therefore believe Brexit will make the problems we face significantly worse, especially for those who voted Leave.
How do we propose to stop Brexit?
- There is one group who have the right to change their minds about Brexit – the British people. Renew, like active campaign groups, is showing people they are free to express a change of heart or stand up for Remain. This is an acceptable, responsible and patriotic thing to do, now we know it will hurt everyone. Like them, we propose finding other solutions to their problems without leaving EU.
- There are no easy solutions for the way ahead – the Conservative government has placed us all in a difficult situation – but the least damaging by far, is to think again, and remain in the EU.
- We advocate a democratic process, based on concrete information.
- We propose putting Remain back as an option for both MPs and Lords when they debate the final deal, and allowing the British public to express their view based on new information, in a new vote.
- Voters were forced to make an existential and complicated decision for the country with little information on the impact or alternatives. A simple majority vote, in a mechanism designed to be advisory, did not reflect the gravity of the decision. Even 18 months later, after a botched negotiation process by the Conservative Government, people remain confused about the UK’s proposals. There is still lack of consensus all round, within parties, between parties, and among the country’s constituent parts. Many people are having second thoughts about the wisdom of Brexit.
- It is therefore right that once a final deal is clear, and as long as factual information is made available, voters can choose between Remain and reform, or the new proposals on the table. A new election may be called to try to settle the issue. Renew exists to fight and win hearts and minds, during that election or referendum.
- If we are successful, we will pivot back to the EU, repair our relations and fashion a new role for Britain in Europe that’s in line with our national vision. We will advocate reforms in a newly reinvigorated EU that is already responding to similar concerns across Europe about inequality, immigration, identity, people movements and security.