On a November Friday evening in the City of Liverpool a group of North West MPs, MEPs, Councillors and concerned members of the public met to discuss the huge issue of Brexit. Alison McGovern MP, Maria Eagle MP, Julie Ward MEP, Louise Ellman MP and Theresa Griffin MEP attended from the Labour Party. Liverpool City Councillors Richard Kemp of the Liberal Democrats and Tom Crone of the Green Party also participated.
The panel was chaired by Michael Dougan, Professor of EU Law at the University of Liverpool. Michael has shared concise videos online surrounding the referendum and since.
The government may like us to think the country has come together to support the Leave direction, but there is much evidence to say this would be to the detriment of the country. This is also an attempt to keep the Conservative Party together by rallying to an extreme faction, words mirrored by some of the panel.
Alison McGovern, MP for Wirral South began with the ironic words of Brexit Secretary, David Davis that in a democracy you can change your mind. As the lies and approach of Theresa May’s government continues to unravel there was consensus this may be sooner rather than later. Maria Eagle, MP for Garston and Halewood spoke about how close the Conservative government is to falling apart with a possible election on the horizon. Julie Ward MEP for the North West spoke about constituents’ concerns regarding immigration which can be challenged in the right way.
Cllr Richard Kemp shared his story about his neighbours being from all over Europe and the world. This helps to showcase the city being open and tolerant.
The questions and answers covered the Brexit Withdrawal Bill, a possible second vote, the Northern Irish border with the Republic of Ireland, likely independence for Scotland and fascist similarities in words and actions of the current government. Prof Dougan himself spoke of the current government being proto-fascist in the context of the Henry VIII powers, giving them more control. This especially comes following the letter from MP Chris Heaton-Harris to University Vice Chancellors concerning whose lectures cover Brexit.
The clock is ticking with around 500 days to go until the date Theresa May has set for officially leaving the European Union. This is not a done deal however, as many stumbling blocks exist within parliament; votes in both houses, and changing public opinion will make a difference to the final outcome of the referendum. There is always hope that the UK will not turn its back on the 70 years of peace we have had since the end of Second World War. As quite a poignant thought at the time of Armistice Day, we should not forget all we have achieved together.