If ever there was a time for us to close ranks and stand united, it’s now. Both the future of the country, faith in our democratic institutions, and perhaps the fate of the Conservative Party depend on it.
It’s been a tumultuous few weeks for Boris and the Brexit cause. Seemingly under fire from all sides, lumbering on with a minority administration, Boris Johnson is tasked with steering a Conservative Government through the most testing period since Margaret Thatcher faced down the unions.
Just like when Thatcher set about restoring law and order and getting Britain back to work, Boris is facing huge institutional resistance to delivering a timely Brexit. The forces who continue to campaign for the UK to remain in the EU will leave no stone unturned in an effort to engineer a way of keeping the UK in the EU.
Despite having no publicly agreed reason for delaying Brexit for the third time, their latest maneuver is to force an extension to the UK’s departure date. We must do everything in our power to resist this demand and stand united behind Boris’s Government in ensuring that Britain leaves the EU on October 31st - with or without a deal.
The frustrating irony is that perhaps the only chance of securing an acceptable Brexit deal is to stand firm and negotiate right to the wire. The EU has a track record of only blinking at one minute to midnight. So by once again forcing further delay, those who claim to want the British government to secure a good deal are in fact reducing the possibility of the Government being able to secure any concessions over the backstop.
Kicking the can down the road again and again simply isn’t a solution. Parliament has now had over three and a half years to unite behind a Brexit position, having voted against a negotiated deal, no deal, a second referendum, membership of the Single Market, membership of the Customs Union, EFTA membership and revoking Article 50. They now refuse to even face the electorate in order to produce a Parliament that is able to unite behind a way forward. Such cavalier disregard towards delivering on the referendum result risks inflicting severe damage on Britain’s valuable political institutions.
Boris has been absolutely clear that his preference is for a negotiated deal - provided it represents a good deal for the UK. But if this is not possible, the only way we can move the agenda forward and start providing certainty for businesses and families who are desperate to have clarity on the future is to be prepared for a No Deal Brexit. If we accept yet another delay, who is to say that we won’t end up succumbing to yet another delay after that? It’s time to draw a line in the sand and the Conservative Party are the only party that are committed to backing Britain to succeed with or without a deal, and to move the debate on beyond Brexit.
The latest Survation poll was telling in the public’s thinking with most people saying that Britain should leave on October 31st and that recalling Parliament will do nothing to solve the gridlock. What’s more, Boris is by far the most trusted leader when it comes to Brexit.
It’s going to be a bumpy ride over the next few weeks. But we’ll be backing Boris and his Ministers every step of the way in ensuring Britain leaves the EU by October 31st. It’s time to finally deliver on the will of the people.
Luke Springthorpe is director of Conservative Progress