Dame Margaret Beckett – Any Brexit extra time must be used to give the British people the final say - People's Vote

Dame Margaret Beckett – Any Brexit extra time must be used to give the British people the final say

Speaking at a People's Vote press conference at the Foreign Press Association in London today, Margaret Beckett MP, the former Foreign Secretary, will say: 

“Both the United Kingdom and the EU 27 now need to negotiate calmly for an extension of the deadline if we are to prevent what is already a deeply damaging Brexit causing even greater calamity.

“Hardly anyone wants any extra time we get to be wasted on trying to get the Prime Minister’s proposals over the line without the British people having the final say. That's because Theresa May's broken Brexit deal is supported by very few - either in the country or in Parliament. Instead, in the midst of this deepening political crisis, a new solution must be found. Many of us have been reaching out across party lines to seek a compromise that can command the support of Parliament and the people.  

“There are a number of less economically damaging models than a hard or no deal Brexit, such as those involving a customs union, or single market access through membership of the European Economic Area, I recognise that such proposals are motivated by a genuine desire to minimise damage to our economy, jobs and investment. 

“But to force options like ‘Norway-plus’ or a customs union through Parliament without putting them to the people would neither be democratic nor help heal the deep divisions in our country and our politics that the Brexit debate has exposed. 

“Proposals such as Norway-plus could help offset some of the worst economic effects of Brexit but would risk being seen by millions as an establishment stitch-up because the biggest change in our relationship  with Europe would be that we no longer have any real say over the rules we would still be required to follow. Proposals for a hard Brexit might satisfy the desire of some MPs for purity but would also leave both businesses and families desperately concerned about the price they will pay.

“Instead, what is needed now is for Parliament to use whatever extra time we can now get to work out what we want. When MPs have properly scrutinised all such options and decided on what Brexit means - hard and expensive or soft and pointless - I believe we will reach an understanding - that any deal will be so far from what was once promised and so certain to disappoint so many, it must receive final approval from the people of the United Kingdom.

“These are dangerous times for Britain and the rest of Europe. At tomorrow's summit, I hope we will see the leadership needed from both sides to resolve this is a fair and reasonable fashion, rather than the posturing and brinkmanship that has too often characterised this debate.”

/ends