Why It's Time For A People's Vote

Why It's Time For A People's Vote by business consultant and former CEO, Denyse Whillier | Built To Succeed

Are you a business owner who’s worried and alarmed by Brexit? If so, you’re not alone. My clients who are directly affected by Britain leaving the EU are really worried about the possible impact on their business.

Take one of my clients, a florist. We’ve been discussing contingency planning for Brexit, and looking at a number of scenarios, including if there’s a ‘no deal.’ My client buys the majority of her flowers from Holland because the UK cannot supply her with the quantity, reliability and quality she needs to meet the needs of her customers.

The NHS may be amassing fridges in preparation for a no deal, but my client can’t stockpile fresh flowers in the event that Britain crashes out of the EU on 29th March. While 'no deal' is unlikely in my view, my client, a micro-business, is using precious and scarce resources to put in place contingency plans for each of the most likely outcomes. Time and resources she can ill afford.

We're now 77 days away from leaving the EU and the Prime Minister’s chances of winning Tuesday’s “meaningful vote” on her proposals appear remote. It’s estimated that she could lose by a landslide of up to 200 votes.

Setting aside the Irish border issue, the main reason Theresa May is likely to lose the vote so catastrophically is the Government’s own figures show that her deal would be bad for the economy, jobs and business. Her deal puts the UK in a weak position from which to negotiate a future trade agreement with the EU, and it continues the uncertainty that has weakened our economy. (Note, Government figures also show that every version of Brexit will make us worse off).

As the costs and risks of Brexit have become clearer, support for leaving the EU has fallen. This Cornwall florist voted Leave. At the time of the Referendum, he didn’t think about how his vote would affect his business. Now he realises that Brexit jeopardises "everything - my family, my house, my staff, everything...we've been trading for 33 years."

In a recent YouGov poll, only 38% of voters said they still think leaving is a good idea, an all-time low. Offered the choice of May’s deal or remaining in the EU, 46% would stay while 35% would take the deal. Imposing the deal under these circumstances would not, as May maintains, honour the expressed will of British voters. It would do the opposite.

It’s been apparent for some while that our government is incapable of finding a way out of this mess. If Parliament cannot find a way forward, that will unify the country and be in the national interest, then it should be taken out of the hands of the politicians and returned to the British people to have their say. Notwithstanding the irony that it was the 2016 referendum which got us into this mess.

Some people say that a public vote will create yet more division and disillusionment. I strongly disagree. The government has done very little to tackle the underlying issues that led to Brexit. A people’s vote would not only allow us to move beyond the current stalemate but would start the desperately needed process of healing the deep divisions that have opened within our society.

Of course another vote will be messy, divisive and politically fraught. But this is equally true of any other outcome to Brexit. With Parliament at a deadlock and the government adrift, a new referendum is the only way forward.

If you agree that the people should decide, here’s how you can demand a People’s Vote.

WHAT’S YOUR TAKE?

Do you think we should have a people’s vote? I love reading your feedback so please do take a moment to share let me know in the comments box below.

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