When we were preparing for the EU Referendum campaign, I said that to win, we have to be unremittingly positive. Leave “Project Fear” to the other side, because we knew that is how they would prosecute the campaign. When Simon Richards, Rory Broomfield, and I toured the country giving speeches and taking part in debates, we kept to that brief – we are Better Off Out of the European Union.
We also knew that if we lost the referendum there was no point complaining about it. The SNP appear to want a “neverendum” in Scotland until they get the result they want. We were not going to behave in that way.
If only the same can be said of the Remoaners. A clear majority of our fellow citizens have accepted the referendum result and just want the Government to get on with it. The Remoaners in the House of Lords this week and last have done their best to re-run the referendum campaign. “What if people have changed their minds?”, they wail. “Surely they should have another chance to say yay or nay?” I can’t imagine them saying the same if the referendum result had gone the other way. Pigs would be gracefully gliding through the air before some of those Peers – especially those taking the Liberal Democrat whip – said, “I think we should give the voters another chance to vote Leave”.
Then came the turn of Sir John Major, the man whose egregious premiership saw the parliamentary Conservative Party reduced to a shadow of its former self in 1997. A businessman who had bankrupted his company would not be booked to give a lecture on how to run a successful business. Why then does Sir John think we are remotely interested in anything he says? Rather than preaching from the hill tops just how great Britain (and Northern Ireland) is, he instead took an opportunity on Monday evening to give a speech that was so negative, after listening to it, you could be forgiven for reaching out for a revolver.
But what we witnessed yesterday in the House of Lords was Remoaners lose their heads in a determination to amend the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill at all costs. Throughout the referendum campaign it was made clear that those EU citizens who currently reside in the UK would be protected. I wouldn’t have it any other way, but as Lords Tebbit put it:
“It seems to me that the first duty of this Parliament of the United Kingdom is to care for the interests of the citizens of this kingdom. If we are to be concerned about anybody’s rights after Brexit to live anywhere on this continent of Europe, we should be concerned for the rights of British people to live freely and peacefully in other parts of Europe.”
He is correct, and once we have that guarantee, reciprocal rights will be granted. If the Government tried to do anything to the contrary, I would happily man the barricades. As the Archbishop of York said:
“…this simple Bill is simply to confer power on the Prime Minister to notify under Article 50 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union that there is an intention to withdraw.”
He went on to say:
“I never want to see any human person used as a bargaining chip. They are made in God’s likeness and as far as I am concerned, they are people and must be treated according to the rule of law in this country. The Prime Minister tried to give a guarantee. Angela Merkel did not want it before Article 50 was triggered. My suggestion is to trigger it and go back to what you promised.”
I agree with the Archbishop. The Prime Minister did try to give a guarantee and this issue would have been resolved. Human beings should not be used as bargaining chips, but it is not H.M. Government that is treating them in this way. Remoaners need to get over the fact that they lost the referendum, and do what the majority of the British public wants – and I believe a majority of those who voted Remain want – and allow the Government to negotiate our exit from the European Union on the best possible terms. Constantly talking the country down and attempting to unnecessarily amend legislation is not only unhelpful, it is damaging.
Get over it.