Brexit continues to divide the nation 18 months on from the EU referendum. So, in the spirit of the season – and after the Archbishop of Canterbury called for one – we decided to arrange a Christmas truce.
Remainers – one good thing about Brexit
Sir Vince Cable – the Liberal Democrat leader wants an “exit from Brexit” through a referendum on the final deal.
“Houses are going to lose so much value that millennials might actually be able to get their foot on the ladder in Brexit Britain.”
Caroline Lucas – the Green Party’s co-leader and its only MP is a former member of the European Parliament.
“Aside from seeing the UKIP MEPs lose their EU salaries, there really isn’t much to celebrate about Brexit. If I had to pick one potential benefit it would be the chance to upgrade our farming policy to focus more on environmental protection, rather than the support for large scale agribusiness that has been central to the Common Agricultural Policy.
“British governments’ record on the issue doesn’t exactly inspire confidence – but I live in hope that we can reconfigure the subsidy system to support small scale and organic farmers more than before.”
Chris Leslie – the Labour MP and former shadow chancellor is a leading member of Open Britain, the cross-party group campaigning for a “soft Brexit”.
“If there is a silver lining, I’d say that Brexit has brought together politicians from across the traditional party political divide who weren’t working together previously – but are now.
“There is a growing alliance between moderate politicians from all parties who are finding new common ground, defending values of pro-European free trade and internationalism, something that wasn’t so evident before Brexit.
“In terms of the wider public debate, Brexit has also provoked a wider awareness of international trade and global economics which many people weren’t familiar with until recently.”
Leavers – one good thing about the EU
Gisela Stuart – As co-chair of the Vote Leave campaign, the Labour MP toured the UK with Boris Johnson and Michael Gove. She converted to the Eurosceptic cause after helping to draft an EU constitution in Brussels.
“I shall miss the European Council meetings – seeing all the European politicians sitting around a table trying to thrash things out and seek common solutions. They don’t always achieve it but it’s good that they keep trying.
“I will also miss hearing Beethoven’s 9th Symphony (the EU anthem), the finest piece of music ever written.”
Steven Woolfe – the Mancunian was once touted as the man most likely to succeed Nigel Farage as the next UKIP leader until a spectacular falling out with the party. He now sits as an independent in the European Parliament.
“The EU actually tried to create the removal of all barriers to trade and therefore it has helped ambitious UK companies to expand and grow their exports. I don’t think we should shy away from the positive influence of this, which supported the growth of companies in the UK. I hope now we can carry on building that and go global.
“But the EU wasn’t just about trade, it was also about political unification and I think if that hadn’t happened we would still be in.”
Patrick O’Flynn – the UKIP MEP gave up a career as the Daily Express’s political correspondent to fight for Brexit.
“I will miss the very many lovely people who work in the Parliament, including colleagues in the EFDD group, from other countries.
“Leaving is nothing personal, it’s just that the British public have reached the end of their tolerance for political integration and building a super-state. We can keep the things that we need. We might be able to opt into a number of programmes if it is decided they are good value for money.
“The EU was useful in the middle of the 20th Century to prevent war between France and Germany but I don’t suppose the UK leaving is going to make that a concern now.”
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