Exit on Brexit

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Theresa May says she won’t quit but she should; her Brexit plan isn’t what the people voted for

The result of the once-in-a-generation United Kingdom European Union membership referendum or Brexit referendum of June 23, 2016 was unequivocal, definitive and clear. The British people, by a simple majority (51.9 per cent), said they were in favour of leaving the EU. The only job of the Government — any Government — was then to bring to fruition the expressed wishes of the British people under the provisions of the European Union Referendum Act 2015 and the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 that they wanted their country to leave the European Union. The Government of the day, the Conservative administration led by David Cameron at the time in which Theresa May was a member of the Cabinet post which had called the referendum, had stated categorically that it would implement the result whatever the result may me. The timeline too was laid out — the official EU withdrawal process would begin on March 29, 2017 which put the UK on course to leave the EU by March 30, 2019, after a period of Brexit negotiations.

Prime Minister May, as she became after she took over from Cameron who had campaigned against Brexit and did the honourable thing by quitting when the results came out, called a fresh election and became Prime Minister of a fragile minority Government that lost a significant number of seats won under Cameron. Subsequently, after having conducted a balancing act over the past two years between the pro some links with the EU ‘Remainer’ and the Eurosceptic hard ‘Brexiteer’ wings of her party even while her Government began negotiations with the EU on the terms of separation having triggered the process of withdrawal from the EU on March 29, she called a meeting of her Cabinet at the British Prime Minister’s official country residence Chequers last week. She emerged from it claiming, almost Neville Chamberlain-like, peace in the Government and an agreement in Cabinet on the Brexit line to be followed which may be termed a soft Brexit that advocated closer trade and regulatory ties with the EU even after the UK’s exit. Her joy was even more short-lived than her pre-World War II predecessor’s.

Two big beast members of her Cabinet including Brexit Secretary David Davis and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson quit over the weekend in protest, with the latter terming May’s Brexit plan a path to making the UK a colony. Eurosceptic MPs in her party are puce with rage at what they see as a betrayal of the people’s mandate, though the Prime Minister is confident she retains the support of a majority her legislators and has promised to fight any move to unseat her. That’s how Chamberlain too reacted to the initial criticisms of his ‘peace for our time’ paper-waving act. May should quit before history repeats itself.

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