We must not let Brexit dominate this election’s agenda

Brexit, Brexit, Brexit – the word you hear time and time again. You hear it from the mouths of your family, friends and neighbours; you read it in the newspapers; you see it repeated endlessly as you scroll through social media. It is a cause of anxiety and upset for many on both sides of the debate. Ever since the referendum in 2016, we have seen two early general elections and the departure of two Prime Ministers (and soon, perhaps, a third). While Brexit is a topic which must be addressed, we must not let it push other important issues such as climate change and austerity into the deep, dark corners of our politics.

While it is entirely likely that a Tory-led exit from the E.U will be disastrous for the economy, what will be even more disastrous is global warming. The impact of Brexit may last for generations but the consequences of the excessive heating of our planet will be something we’re stuck with for eternity. The IPCC warns that if governments don’t step up to tackle climate change in the next twelve years, the effects could be irreversible. Rising sea levels could mean more flooding of coastal regions, which will grind businesses to a halt, the Met Office insists. To make matters worse, resulting damage to infrastructure such as roads, bridges and rails will hinder national trade but also stop many workers from going to their places of employment, which will contribute to a massive drain on the economy.

Environmental policy is not simply an infrastructure issue; it will affect living standards, create climate refugees, and ultimately lead to a spiking death rate – and only the Labour Party seem to be offering a real solution to this issue with their “Green New Deal”, created in consultation with climate scientists. Labour alone must push the issue to the top of the agenda pile; not Jo Swinson, who has taken a lax approach to fracking, and certainly not Boris Johnson, who wrote his party’s climate agenda with the help of the fracking industry.

For the past nine years, the Conservative Party’s brutal austerity programme has crushed the working classes, decimating and privatising our public services. Cuts in police, youth centres and drug treatment services imposed by the Conservatives ever since they got into power in 2010 have led to an increase in crime up and down the UK:

These are issues which have been around longer than Brexit and deserve far more attention from the political parties.

For many of us, Brexit has proven to be a dark cloud which overshadows everything else. The electorate must realise that this general election is not and cannot simply be a “Brexit election”; it’s an election for climate change, it’s an election for our police services, our youth centres, our health facilities, our schools. The future isn’t simply Brexit or no Brexit, it’s our children going to well-funded schools and receiving world class education, our police being funded properly so they can make our country a safer place to live, our NHS, and the state of our climate.

Tom Brake interview: “Come a general election, its everything to play for”

The Liberal Democrats have witnessed something of a resurgence since the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum. With a clear policy of opposing Brexit – and now with the election of Jo Swinson – there is a clear feeling that the party is now primed to lead a new liberal movement in the UK.

It’s no wonder that Tom Brake, the Lib Dem Brexit spokesman, is confident that the party could fair well in an upcoming general election, saying that there “is everything to play for” and the idea that “Jo Swinson could be our future prime minister” is a perfectly “rational idea to set out”.

There is no doubting that the Liberal Democrats have grown dramatically in terms of popularity, compared to the 2017 general election. The party witnessed their London vote share increase by 20% in the 2019 European elections- a clear indicator of their anti-Brexit appeal.

According to Mr Brake, Brexit came at a time when the party faced an “existential threat” and enabled it to “clear the decks” by developing a “clear position” that would appeal to a broad “range of voters.”

When asked about the party’s stance on the EU Referendum itself, Mr Brake made reference to what he dubbed a “deliberate attempts” to exclude certain groups from “participation”, which he believes contributed to the narrow margin of victory for Leave.

As well as expressing doubt at the ability of the new prime minister to renegotiate a deal with the EU, the Brexit Spokesman defended Jo Swinson’s decision not to form a pact with the Labour Party, arguing that Jeremy Corbyn “has always been a Eurosceptic”.

The full interview can be found below:

The EU Referendum: Corruption on a Machiavellian scale

“Everyone sees what you appear to be, few experience what you really are”

Niccolo Machiavelli – ‘The Prince’

Famine, flood, fire, disease, conquer, and other tribulations are found to be among the fortunes that weaken or destroy a nation. Yet, none of these is as great a threat to maintaining an enduring state as corruption.

Albeit, a less often used concept; corruption appears in many different forms, but always as a foil to virtue and aid to fortune. Certainly, there is a form of unparalleled similarity between the “illegal practices” of the Vote Leave campaign and the Machiavellian thought.

It is fitting to think of the most recent revelations from the Electoral Commission’s investigation into campaigning as characterising Brexit as a force that ignited man’s propensity to vice or perversion.

“Whosoever desires constant success must change his conduct with the times”

Niccolo Machiavelli – ‘Republic’

“If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we’re going to march back and tell them they can’t”. This was the rallying cry of Nigel Farage as he signalled the beginning of the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ in which Leave voters marched close to 300 miles to protest against the government’s failure to deliver Brexit. Yet, in what is undoubtedly a far greater ‘betrayal’ Farage announced that he would not actually be participating in the march.

The sense of false hope evoked by this shock announcement is a fitting metaphor for the lies and deceit that accompanied the referendum campaign: false promises, deception and the ironic dereliction of democracy in an exercise that was supposed to enhance it- allegedly.

But it is not just Farage- the self-appointed phoney ‘representative of the people’ that is at fault. Our own government are complicit in the erosion of UK democracy as we know it. Indeed, underlying the principal issue of the referendum today is not about who ‘won’. Rather, it is the disturbing reality of having to question whether or not a lawful, free and fair vote still remains one of the constitutional requirements of the UK; and whether the end really does justify the means.

The UK’s constitutional requirements include well-established principles which value and seek to preserve the integrity of democracy, including the voting process, as well as lawful decision-making. The right to vote is a fundamental constitutional right. The integrity of the democratic process is one of the common law’s fundamental values which underlie the UK’s constitutional requirements in this case. The principle of legality is a relevant constitutional requirement, in this case, protecting democratic values recognised by the common law and applying principles of constitutionality.

But, facts recently revealed since the Prime Minister exercised her power under Section 1 of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Act 2017 to notify the EU of the UK’s intention to leave show that the 2016 referendum was significantly vitiated by unlawful misconduct. Of particular concern, the Electoral Commission recently found (to the criminal standard of proof) that offences were committed in breach of the legal framework established by Parliament for the referendum.

Vote Leave, the official designated campaign, was found on a standard of beyond reasonable doubt to have committed serious offences, including joint working between the lead campaigner, Vote Leave and another campaign group BeLeave. BeLeave was found to have spent £675,315.18 with Aggregate IQ under a common plan with Vote Leave. This spending should have been declared by Vote Leave. It means Vote Leave exceeded its legal spending limit of £7 million by £449,079, around 6%.

Leave.EU, a registered participant, failed to include at least £77,380 in its spending return, thereby exceeding its spending limit by more than 10%, being fees paid to the company Better for the Country Limited as its campaign organiser.

There is no reasonable doubt then, in logic or reason, that the illegality perpetrated by various ‘Leave’ campaigns disproportionately influenced the outcome of the referendum. In what was heralded by the then Conservative prime minister, David Cameron, as an opportunity to allow the ‘people to have their say on European Union members, the referendum was tainted by significant breaches, amounting to corrupt and illegal practices in electoral law

With the burden of proof having been sufficiently met, one has to ask: why does the prime minister insist on ‘respecting the result of the referendum’. How can the electorate, who are entitled to vote in a free and fair democratic exercise, be expected to respect an outcome that undermines the rule of law?

The term ‘Machiavellian’ is in common usage today, and is usually applied pejoratively in reference politicians. Such reluctance to give attention to the veracity of said illegalities is troubling. That a prime minister, who is now aware that the referendum result was procured by criminal conduct, still proceeds confidently on the basis that 51% of those who voted and 34% of the electorate were in favour of the UK leaving the EU is objectionable. Indeed, Theresa May has placed herself firmly into a Machiavellian dimension: how Brexit was achieved has been overlooked because the focus has been shifted to what has been achieved, namely, that ‘will of the people’ has prevailed- something she urges should be ‘respected’.

Even though Machiavelli acknowledged that appearances are arguably more important than actions, because “everyone sees what you appear to be,” “few experience what you really are,” in the end “the common people are always impressed by appearances and results”. May’s wilful neglect of evidence of illegality in the Referendum will matter more than any posturing before or after it.

By reason of this conduct, and if we are to hold out any hope of salvaging democracy, it must be recognised that it is wrong for the Prime Minister to treat as binding the result of a referendum which, had it been binding, would be void, the result of which may have been affected thereby. Furthermore, to do so is not lawful or in accordance with the UK’s constitutional requirements. Parliament should not be taken to have disapplied principles of legality and constitutionality in conferring the said power on the Prime Minister.

We might consider, then, how often the losers of war are found to be morally questionable, while the victors are seen as above reproach- the notion that history is written by the victors. Ultimately, Brexit leads us to examine the extent to which we are prepared to overlook the dubious machinations of our politicians if the outcome works in our favour.

Farage, Mogg and Johnson: The Phoney Defenders of the Working Class

“If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we’re going to march back and tell them they can’t”. These were the invigorating words of Nigel Farage, delivered to the participants of the ‘Brexit Betrayal March’ in which 50 emboldened Leave voters marched 280 miles through wind and rain to protest against our politician’s failure to deliver Brexit. However, in what could be perceived as a much greater betrayal, Farage went on to reveal that he would not actually be joining the march himself; much to the amusement of many on social media.

The image of those 50 protesters labouring on without any recognised leader was a fitting metaphor for one of the greatest lies at the heart of the Brexit process: the belief that Farage, Johnson and Mogg are natural defenders of the working-class.

In supporting a No Deal departure from the EU, they claim to have the best interests of the working class at heart, promising greater sovereignty and economic prosperity; appealing to the patriotic undertones of the British people “going it alone” and delivering the Brexit the people had apparently voted for in the first place.

However, they no doubt have ulterior motives in supporting a No Deal Brexit. For those on the right – ardent supporters of big business and global capitalism – a No Deal Brexit creates the opportunity to convert the UK into a low tax haven in what Paul Butters calls a “bargain basement for business”. It is for this reason they are licking their lips at the possibility of a No Deal; with the prospect of lower corporation tax and less government regulation.

No politician who supports crashing out of the EU can seriously consider themselves a protector of the lower classes when so much evidence has shown a No Deal Brexit will hit the poorest in society hardest. While the likes of Johnson and Farage will evidently be cushioned from increased prices and shortages, the same cannot be said for the millions they claim to be representing. 

Just a quick glance at the voting record of these charlatans tells us all we need to know about their relationship with the working-class. Boris Johnson, an ardent support of grammar schools of which he and many other right-wing politicians were privileged enough to attend, has voted for the bedroom tax, to cut universal credit benefits for people in paid work and has constantly voted to reduce corporation tax for his business chums. As supporters of austerity politics; these politicians have inflicted years of damage on working class communities and fuelled ugly, hate-filled populism.

Having continually voted for policies detrimental to the poorest in society, the fact that Johnson and co. believe they have the moral authority to claim to represent the “ordinary” citizen is absurd. They are very much a part of the establishment they claim to detest:  the image of an embarrassed Farage admitting he did not know how much his private jet to France cost sticks in the mind.

These charlatans know no shame. They will side with the working class so long as it suits their elitist agenda. Brexit has granted them a golden opportunity to appeal to voters who their economic policies would have otherwise alienated. They’ve seen a chance and they’ve taken it. However, it is only a matter of time before there is yet another “betrayal of the people”; as their plot begins to unravel and the gap between the rich and the poor grows ever wider.

These are just some of the ways a no-deal Brexit could affect you

The fate of UK citizens is currently hanging by a thread, as MPs fail to agree upon one singular exit deal. At the reluctance of some EU states, the UK has been granted several Brexit extensions. But even so, there is no clear resolution upon the horizon

On Thursday 21st March, there was a crucial vote that allowed Britain to request a fruther Brexit delay in order to negotiate a fresh deal. The UK was granted the extension of article 50 by the EU to formulate a new deal, but currently, the UK has no tangible plan for going forward.

There has now been a further extension until 31st October with the caveat that if the government can agree upon a deal, then the UK can leave the European Union much sooner. But this has done little to quell the nation’s sense uncertainty as various options continue to be exhausted in parliamentary debates.

The prime minister’s deal has consistently failed to muster enough support to be ratified by the Commons, however, May remains confident in her attempts to push forward. The remaining options are major renegotiation, another referendum and, of course, the potential of a no deal Brexit.

Despite the uncertainity, one thing remains clear: a hard-Brexit could have tremendous implications for the UK, from trade to employment- many citizens could be affected by this decision. As a member of the public, it can often feel as though you have no voice or say in matters as they unfold. But educating yourself on the possible outcomes can help you to be more prepared and more aware of how this could affect you. Below are just some of the ways a no-deal Brexit could affect you.

You May Need to Renew Your Passport Early

At present, the UK can enter ‘Schengen area’ countries with a valid passport that has 1 day remaining before expiration. However, in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, this will no longer be applicable. Instead, if you have 6 months or less remaining on your passport, you may be prohibited from entering another country.

EU Citizens Will Have Fewer Rights To Remain in the UK

Currently, there are more than 3 million EU citizens living in the UK. Despite Brexit, EU citizens can apply to remain in the UK by registering for “settled status” with the government.

However, in the case of a no-deal Brexit, immigration laws will become much stricter, as this will only be applied before 29th March. Ultimately, UK Immigration Law will now be based on a skill-based level and free-movement between the UK and the EU will be halted.

Supermarkets Could Run Out of Food

UK supermarkets are currently stockpiling food in the event of a no-deal Brexit. This is because of the growing concern that trading deals could be severed between the EU and the UK if no deal is agreed upon.

In December, it was revealed that there could be a disruption in the supply chain in the event of a hard Brexit. Because of this, local supermarkets and fast-food chains such as KFC could be disrupted for up to a month, some reports suggest.

Lorries Could Take Over the Motorways

It’s been warned that in the event of a No-Deal Brexit, the motorways (such as the M20) could be backed up with lorries leaving from the Port of Dover. Operation Brock was initiated during the lead up to Christmas, to simulate deliveries in the event of a no deal Brexit. The delays would be caused by delays at the border.

The Dover Harbour Board chief has warned that there could be lorries stretching for over 17 miles, should May fail to secure a deal before the UK leaves the EU. This would also mean that one side of the motorway would be solely for lorries.

Perfumes and Everyday Medicines Will Cost More

At present, ingredients in everyday medicine can be traded within the EU without needing a license. In the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK will need to acquire a license, which will result in added expense to the consumer.

Without an exit deal, firms who want to trade these popular chemicals with the EU will have to register with the Home Office, which will come with the added expense of £109-£3,655. In addition to this, firms will also need an import and export license which will cost £24. Experts believe that this added cost will be reflected in an increased retail price.

Cheap Coach Holidays Could Face Cancellation

UK coach drivers could be restricted from entering the EU, which could put a stop to cheap coach holidays. At present, the EU is part of an “Interbus Agreement”, which allows coach drivers to frequently enter the various countries in the EU with holiday makers.

The UK government is currently planning to rejoin this agreement as a third party user, in order to reduce any delays or cancellations that this could cause.

Local Hospitals Could Run Out of Medicine

It’s been revealed that NHS chiefs fear local hospitals could run out of medicine in the event of a no Deal Brexit. If ports are gridlocked, patients could be deprived of life-saving drugs and medical equipment. However, the Cabinet minister has stated that officials are currently working to reduce this.

Civil Unrest Could Take Over

In an unlikely scenario, social unrest could erupt and take over the streets after Britain has left the EU. The government has hired crisis professionals in the event that this becomes a reality.

You Could Notice More Troops in the Streets

It’s been revealed that over 3,000 troops are being held at readiness in case there is a disastrous no-deal Brexit. This will be a combination of reserves and full time employed army people.

In the event of a hard Brexit, the UK will be classed as being high risk, so the government has put measures in place to minimise any damage or social unrest that occurs during this instance.

Your Job Could be at Risk

Many international businesses that have UK offices have announced that they are planning to move from the UK in the event of a no-deal Brexit. Instead, many jobs will either be outsourced to non-UK citizens. For example, Airbus, which employs 14,000 people in the UK has threatened to move elsewhere.

It’s feared that investors will be hesitant to invest in the UK, meaning that future generations will also be affected.

Your Divorce Could Be Halted

In the event of a hard Brexit, the UK will cease to be part of the EU family courts, which means that midway through divorce or child custody cases involving another EU country, could be left in limbo.

Smokers Will Have to Pay More and Cigarette Packets Will Become More Graphic

Currently, the images that are used in the cigarette packages are copyright owned by the Europeans Commission. So in the event of a no deal Brexit, the UK will be replaced with the Australian version of packets, which are notoriously more gruesome in their nature.

You Could Lose Your Consumer Rights

Currently, all of your consumer rights are protected under EU law, which will be revoked in the event of a hard Brexit. The UK court is not recognised as an arbiter for consumer rights, so Brits could be potentially stripped of their current consumer rights too. Therefore, if a product is faulty or dangerous from outside the UK, it will be much harder to take any legal action or to make a complaint.

You Could Be Stranded On Your Package Holiday

Flights to the UK could be grounded and holiday makers could be left without any legal representation or protection if the firm they booked with goes bankrupt. Under current UK law, Brits currently have insolvency protection, however this will cease to be the case if no deal is agreed upon.

Your Data Roaming Charges Will Spike

Almost 2 years ago, major UK mobile providers slashes data roaming charges, meaning that Brits could use their phone without any additional charges inside the EU.

Mobile companies, including EE, O2 and Vodafone have expressed that they have made no plans to increase data roaming charges after Brexit.  

Blackouts Could Be Experienced

The UK could experience blackouts, especially in Northern Ireland. No Deal Brexit could scupper the ‘All-Island’ electricity, which is shared between Northern Ireland and the Republic. This could mean that there is no legal basis. In this event, Ireland must rely on fall-back arrangements for electricity.

Hiring A Car in the EU Will Be Much Harder

At present, renting a car in the EU is a simple process, however, this could become more complicated. Instead of being able to use your UK driving license, you would instead have to get an International Driving Permit. Experts predict that these sales will increase into the millions should this policy be enforced.

Using Popular Sites Abroad Such As Netflix and Spotify Could Be Stopped

While travelling to EU states, UK citizens may be banned from using Spotify and Netflix. This is because the “portability regulation” will be stripped from Britons who are travelling to EU states. This means that these content providers will not be required to offer cross-border access to their services.

Airport Security Will Become Much Tighter

UK citizens may have to undergo two security screenings, being checked in the UK and then again in the EU state before getting on a connecting flight. Currently, the UK aviation security system is recognised by the EU as a credible source, however the EU could refuse to recognise the UK as a credible security source after Brexit.

Your Holiday Flight Could Be Grounded

There is a possibility that airlines and travel companies go bust in the event of a hard Brext, which means that thousands of Brits could be left stranded on holiday, or in the UK.

The government has also admitted that the UK would have to win permission from every individual country in the EU to be allowed to fly there from the UK. However, the UK drums up a large proportion of tourism in popular countries such as Spain, Greece and Italy, so it’s unlikely that this will be the case.

House Prices Could Fall

If the stock market crashes, then the value of properties could plummet in the UK. This means that anybody who is looking to sell their house could be faced with massive financial losses. House prices have already plummeted since the referendum in 2016 and property experts are urging first-time buyers to hold off on securing a fixed rate mortgage, as prices are likely to drop.

Your EHIC May No Longer Be Valid

After Brexit, UK citizens will no longer be allowed to renew their EHIC card and if the UK leaves without a deal, then the existing cards will no longer be valid. The UK currently has 27 million EHIC cards issued, which cover pre-existing medical conditions as well as emergency care within the EU.

The government has instructed that in the event of a hard Brexit, UK holiday makers should purchase holiday insurance just as you would in ant non-EU country. Currently, the UK government is not known to have made many agreements in terms of healthcare at present.

Your Travel Insurance May Not Cover You

The general consensus is that prices for European travel insurance will eventually rise. Several insurance companies have claimed that they could not guarantee cover for disruption caused if we crash out of the bloc.

UK citizens are being advised to check with their individual insurance companies when travelling abroad after Brexit. UK nationals could also face additional questioning at passport checkpoints, which could cause huge delays in the meantime.

There is still a huge amount of uncertainty as to what is going to happen after Britain leaves the EU. However, it’s important as a UK citizen, to prepare for any scenario that may arise.

About the Author

Alice Porter is an avid writer who works closely with the Immigration Solicitors in order to help prepare everyone for the outcomes of Brexit.

May urges MPs to ‘reflect’ as she insists UK can exit EU by next month

Amid the anger from Tory MPs over the extension of article 50, Theresa May has used her statement to the House of Commons to encourage MPs to use the upcoming Easter recess to “reflect on the decisions that will have to be made swiftly on our return”.

The prime minister emphasised the importance of cross-party talks that have been taking place between ministers in the government and the Labour Party and remarked that she hoped that an agreement could be brokered within the next few days.

Her statement comes after returning from the EU27 summit in Brussels in which European leaders attempted to agree to an extension of article 50 until the end of October.

Mrs May used her statement to apportion blame to Tory Brexiteers’ failure to vote for her deal for the decision to ask for a further delay to article 50. Indeed, she suggested that if MPs could pass another withdrawal deal before 22 May, Britain could avoid participating in European elections and then leave the EU at the end of that month.

“However challenging it may be politically, I profoundly believe that in this unique situation where the house is deadlocked, it is incumbent on both frontbenches to seek to work together to deliver what the British people voted for. And I think that the British people expect their politicians to do just that when the national interest demands it.”

Theresa May

Nonetheless, members of the European Research Group lashed out against May’s further delay, with Conservative MP Bill Cash quoting May’s statement as an “abject surrender” and inquired whether she would resign.

In response to the prime minister, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn blamed the failure to “seek consensus” for the inability of any proposed Brexit deal to command a majority in Parliament.

May acknowledged that she had not wanted to ask for a second extension and cited the public’s increasing disenchantment with the impasse currently engulfing Parliament as a reason to reach an agreement by the end of the month

“…let us use the opportunity of the recess to reflect on the decisions that will have to be made swiftly on our return after Easter. And let us then resolve to find a way through this impasse.”

Theresa May

Analysis by Oliver Murphy – Editor

Yesterday’s statement from the prime minister has opened a Pandora’s Box in terms of the political ramifications of another Brexit delay. Today, as a seemingly spent Mrs May took to the despatch box, you’d be forgiven for believing that this was yet another desperate attempt from the PM to try and salvage her dwindling authority.

But for the time being Theresa May has succeeded in at least quelling the once unwavering sense of dread at the potential of a no deal Brexit. Yet, the question ultimately remains: what now?

Labour is willing to continue negotiations with the PM to try and seek compromise, but two factors threaten this prospect: the prime minister’s lack of authority and whether Labour feels it is within their interests to ‘make a deal with the devil.’

Today’s six-month extension to article 50 complicates matters further. With the urgency to avoid a no-deal scenario gone, those on the Labour benches who had thought of voting for May’s deal out of desperation are less likely to do so. As if this wasn’t enough, supporters of a second referendum will be feeling a renewed vigour to push Labour towards backing any legislation to allow a fresh poll during the period of extension.

Yet, perhaps the most pressing task facing the prime minister is facing off the majority of MPs within her own party who wish to see her gone. Indeed, even the most moderate Tories believe that May’s authority has reached its end. But even those within the cabinet concede that there is nothing that can be technically done to remove the PM before December when the party can try again to bring a no-confidence vote.

The sense of delirium within the Conservative party is overwhelming. With no apparent cliff edges on the horizon, many Tory MPs will relish the prospect of an Easter recess. But recent months suggests that a parliamentary break does not always result in cool heads. Indeed, this was the flawed calculation that Mrs May made when she cancelled the first Brexit vote before the Christmas recess, only to find that MPs were even more determined to vote her deal down.

Amid the uncertainty that continues to engulf Parliament, one prospect remains clear: Labour could capitalise on the general dissatisfaction with the Conservative Party in the upcoming local – and maybe even the EU elections.

Above all else, for the prime minister, this latest Brexit extension marks the beginning of the biggest fight for her political career.

May facing Tory unrest as Parliament approves further Brexit delay

The extent of Conservative dissatisfaction with Theresa May for requesting a further delay to Brexit was brought to the fore after most of her MPs, including four cabinet ministers, refused to vote in favour of requesting a further extension of article 50.

Highlighting the prime minister’s dwindling authority, nearly 100 Tory MPs voted against May’s decision to ask for a three-month extension with another 80 abstaining. Some of her most high-profile cabinet colleagues including Andrea Leadsom and Geoffrey Cox did not vote on the tabled motion to extend article 50 until 30 June.

May only won the vote after securing support from Labour and other opposition parties with only 31% of her backing coming from her own party.

Despite today’s vote underlining the intense divisions within the Tory Party, the prime minister will proceed with her request for a delay until 30 June at an EU summit on 10 April, but it is becoming increasingly clear that the EU27 will force her to accept a far longer extension of up to a year.

Analysis by Oliver Murphy – Editor

Despite securing a narrow victory for an extension of article 50, today’s vote was a major defeat for a prime minister desperately trying to hold not only her beloved party together but her own cabinet.

With her previous withdrawal deal being defeated last week, May is charting troubled water as she attempts to unite both her government and the country behind her.

Indeed, pro-Brexit MPs have translated today’s major party rebellion as evidence that she does not have the backing of her party to pursue a soft Brexit that involves a customs union. Even then, she will ultimately wield no parliamentary majority for that if only 100 Labour and other opposition MPs push for a confirmatory referendum.

Despite the non-existence of cabinet discipline, ministers are unlikely to resign as they will ultimately fear the potential of being replaced by pro-remain ministers at this crucial time.

While Parliament and the executive continue to be consumed by the Brexit deadlock, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: May’s future. Indeed, how can the prime minister realistically continue having previously promised not to extend article 50 beyond 30 June? And now, as May loses the support of most of her party, reaching out to Labour and becoming increasingly divorced from the cabinet, the question remains: how long can she last?

‘Partied out’: how today’s Labour Party has let me down

As a 19-year-old Economics and Politics undergraduate, my route into the realm of political discourse has been relatively hassle-free. Indeed, over the past three years, I have actively engaged in our democratic system: from chairing hustings to grassroots campaigning for the Labour Party.

But having entered the political fray through joining the Labour Party, I soon found myself quickly disappointed. Of course, political parties are rarely ‘catch-all’, but the party I once joined in good faith today systematically alienates me and others. Why? Brexit.

Brexit and all it stands for cannot be confined to the left-right spectrum. The issue has divided us all, it transcends party politics to the extent that it has usurped my ideological commitment to the Labour Party. According to an eye-widening poll by Our Future, Our Choice, only 2% of young people believe that Britain’s standing has improved since the 2016 referendum. Shocking as this is, why should we be surprised? Not only were the voices of 2 million 16-17-year-olds suppressed during the referendum, but the voice of Remain has since either been silenced within the major parties or drowned out by a chorus of MPs “elected on a leave manifesto” – a phrase I hear all too often.

The fact of the matter is this: thanks to Brexit, I am politically homeless. No single party stands for the issues I find important. Of course, when associating with a party, it’s impossible to expect every box to be ticked. But Brexit is a box simply too imposing to leave blank. In fact, every other box – health, education, economic policy, foreign policy – has been subsumed by our ensuing withdrawal. It impinges on nearly every issue of political life. That’s why it has pushed so many people away from identifying with a party – and spawned the rise of ‘The Independent Group’. Simply put, Brexit cannot be overlooked by anyone looking to join or vote for a party.

For most voters, identity politics has been replaced by an issue-based agenda. Whilst Brexit has divided much of the country, it has united many young people regardless of their political leanings. Indeed, on the 27th of February, I stood in the Lobby of Parliament shoulder-to-shoulder with young people from across the political spectrum, all of whom were telling MPs how they, as representatives, have failed us by blindly supporting something they know will scar the economy and the electorate in the process. After two years of intense partisanship, it was refreshing to not be bound to a party while fighting against the impact of Brexit.

The common perception of the younger generations today is that we are apathetic, and can’t be trusted. I’d like to offer an alternative perspective. I’m not disenfranchised. I’m disillusioned. The party I subscribed to in 2015 has taken a position on Brexit I simply cannot support- it is ignoring the very voices it claims to represent.

My generation can be trusted, perhaps more so than the generations which sit in government. The plethora of well-informed young people appearing on news stations across the country today is inspiring, revitalising and stands in stark contrast to the ministers who ricochet from failure to failure.

So, far from apathetic, there’s real energy within my generation to stand up for our future; a future which, for many of us, we were unable to shape.

Though the Brexit debate has pushed people away from party politics, they haven’t left politics itself. By people from across the political spectrum all pulling in the same direction on one issue, things will be resolved for the better. On the 27th of February in Parliament, our MPs listened. On the 23rd, at the March for a People’s Vote, they listened again. It is imperative, for their parties’ sakes as well as ours, that they keep listening.