After last year’s historic vote to leave the European Union, it was clear that there would always be those who wished the referendum had turned out differently. It would have been exactly the same had the British people chosen to remain in the EU. But what was not clear was the extent to which some opposition politicians would go to ensure that Britain never leaves the EU.
With many Labour and Liberal Democrat MPs and Members of the House of Lords promising to frustrate Brexit legislation in any way they can, and other parties like the SNP using Brexit to further their own political agendas, threats to a smooth and orderly Brexit are very real indeed. Strong and stable leadership from Theresa May has allowed many of these offensives to be overcome, so much so that the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 is now law.
Opposition politicians are undermining our Brexit case
But the fact is that this Act was a simple one, and the potential for it to be exploited by those seeking to prevent the triggering of Article 50 was minimal. This will not be the case with the Great Repeal Bill and subsequent pieces of legislation into the future.
Opposition politicians will have a multitude of legislative subsistence to utilise and exploit in order to make the Government’s agenda look shambolic for no reason other than to convince the public that Brexit is wrong and that they know better.
This cannot be allowed to happen, and is precisely why the Prime Minister was right to call a General Election. Without it we cannot hope for a united Parliament that will scrutinise legislation properly and not do so in the interests of political game-playing or reneging on the commitment to leaving the EU.
We need to look forward, not back
Lord Hill, a former European Commissioner, told me when he came before the Foreign Affairs Committee that recent political discourse has been dominated by reruns of last year’s referendum campaigns rather than by constructive discussions on how the UK can forge a new role for itself now that the referendum has taken place.
A staunch remainer, he too is of the opinion that a united and planned framework for Brexit is what will give the Government the best possible chance of securing a successful deal.
Our interlocutors in the EU will be looking for any divisions in the British Parliament that might give them an upper hand in negotiations. A General Election now, before the substantive negotiations begin, is the only way to stop this happening, return a united Parliament and allow our Prime Minister to achieve the best possible deal.