On Monday evening Nick Boles, MP for Grantham & Stamford resigned from the Conservative Party after the failure of his Common Market 2.0 amendment. This amendment called for the UK to remain in in the European single market and seeking a temporary Customs Union with the EU, whilst a new arrangement was negotiated with the EU.
Speaking immediately after the results were announced Nick Boles said "I have given everything to attempt to find a compromise that can take this country out of the European Union while maintaining our economic strength and our political cohesion. I accept I have failed. I have failed chiefly because my party refuses to compromise. I regret therefore that I can no longer sit for this Party."
The so called Norway style option which many who campaigned to leave offered as a solution during the referendum did have it's merits; in particular the option to remain in the single market of which Grantham born Margaret Thatcher in said 1992:-
"The Single Market will be a major factor, possibly the major factor, in our competitive position in European and world markets into the twenty-first century.
A single market without barriers—visible or invisible—giving you direct and unhindered access to the purchasing power of over 300 million of the world's wealthiest and most prosperous people.
Bigger than Japan. Bigger than the United States. On your doorstep. And with the Channel Tunnel to give you direct access to it.
It's not a dream. It's not a vision. It's not some bureaucrat's plan. It's for real."
Today that market is bigger than anyone dared hope for and we have always been determined to defend our place within it. The proposals put forward by Nick Boles did therefore merit wider discussion.
We share Nick Boles's frustrations that so many of his parliamentary colleagues have continuously failed to seek a compromise that the narrowness of the 2016 referendum result demanded.
Indeed, the actions of the Government to seek to appease a small element within it's party ranks, instead of promoting a solution that the whole country might be able to unite behind is one of the reason's why support for a People's Vote on the final deal has continued to gain momentum.
We recognise the huge political price that Nick Boles has paid in order to promote a compromise, including his own compromise to support the proposal for a confirmatory vote in one final attempt to secure support for Common Market 2.0.
Once again Parliament has been unable to agree on anything, and once again the proposal for a confirmatory public vote has topped the poll among MP's.
It is increasingly clear that due to entrenched positions, Parliament is unable to agree on anything, apart from the fact that there is limited support for crashing out without a deal.
The only agreed deal with the EU that is on the table is the one negotiated by the Government, which has been rejected by Parliament three times.
Given where we are, the reality of the situation is that Parliament and the country now needs the time to explore all the proposals that have significant support in Parliament which the Prime Minister or her successor would then have to negotiate.
We therefore call on the Government to seek a long extension to the article 50 notification so that the damage to our economy arising from the uncertainty can be halted.
Any fresh deal would still be bound to leave many Lincolnshire voters disappointed or disillusioned because any version of Brexit will:-
- Break many of the promises made in the last referendum.
- Cause real costs to our economy or to our sovereignty.
- Continue the chaos of endless negotiations.
Despite the failure of Parliament to agree on any proposal, support is growing for a compromise proposal which MP's would need to vote through as the final Brexit deal to avoid a “no deal” departure – but only on condition that the British people get to vote on it too.
A People’s Vote is not an option in the Brexit crisis, it is the solution to the crisis.