Mapping the world's opinions

The Brexit on offer is not what we voted for

The issues that were important to people who voted to leave the EU in 2016 have not been addressed in the Brexit deal on the table.

Context

Following difficult negotiations with Brussels, Theresa May has secured a deal with the EU over the terms of Britain’s exit. However, this deal does not address the core concerns that prompted many to vote to leave the European Union. [1]

The Argument

When people voted on the Brexit issue, it was unclear on what the final deal would look like. Many of the Vote Leave campaign’s slogans were centred on tighter controls on immigration, the freedom to negotiate new trade deals with the rest of the world, and freedom from European legislation. However, in practice, the UK’s divorce from Europe has been far more complicated. If Britain wants to keep an open border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, it will be forced to remain in the customs union in some capacity. This means Britain will not have total freedom and autonomy over its laws. It will have to continue to abide by European legislation if it wants to avoid the introduction of costly tariffs and a hard border in Northern Ireland. [2] May’s deal doesn’t even deliver control over British borders, a key promise of the Vote Leave campaign and core belief held among Brexit voters. Under the deal negotiated with the EU, Britain will be forced to accept the EU’s free movement of people rules during a transitionary period.[3] The alternative is to leave the EU without a deal. This would mean the immediate reintroduction of high trade tariffs, prompting price hikes on European products, and possibly creating a food and medicine shortage in the UK. However, it would allow the UK to immediately take back control of its borders, escape from the legal jurisdiction of the EU, and begin negotiation its own trade agreements. The original vote only offered a binary choice. But the realities of Brexit have revealed it is not a binary in/out decision. UK’s post-Brexit relationship with the European Union is far more complex than voters were led to believe.[4] Therefore, it is only right that we hold another referendum now that the British public knows exactly what it is voting for. The referendum should include the option of a no-deal Brexit (a hard Brexit) or Brexit under the terms of Theresa May’s deal.[1]

Counter arguments

Many in the UK, when confronted with the choice between a flawed soft Brexit deal negotiated by Theresa May, or a hard Brexit in the form of a no-deal Brexit, would prefer to stay in the UK. If we are to have another referendum, the choice of remaining in the EU must be on the table to give voice to the opinion that neither of the Brexit options on the table are better than staying in the EU.

Premises

The original vote did not reflect the reality of Brexit. It reduced Brexit to a binary in/out decision, but the realities were more complex. Now people know what the terms of Brexit look like, they should have the final say.

Rejecting the premises

If we are going to choose between the realities of Brexit, all the option must be on the table.

References

  1. http://time.com/5451878/second-brexit-referendum/
  2. https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/15/theresa-may-tory-mps-single-market-customs-union-government-brussels
  3. https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-46214526
  4. https://theconversation.com/the-case-for-and-against-a-second-brexit-referendum-four-experts-give-their-views-90142

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This page was last edited on Thursday, 13 Dec 2018 at 19:25 UTC