Divided opinions over Brexit extension
Date published: 12 April 2019
News of the Brexit deadline extension has left opinions divided
Following the news of a six-month extension to Brexit on Wednesday (10 April), Rochdale Online asked local politicians and businesses what they thought of the announcement.
Here’s what they had to say:
Tony Lloyd, MP for Rochdale
“Anybody watching the way the government has mismanaged the process following the EU referendum must be astonished. Theresa May as Prime Minister has consistently tried to run the clock down in order to force a choice between her massively discredited deal or no deal.
“She has not been able to persuade her own party to support her deal nor her allies in the DUP.
“Labour has offered consistently to work across Parliament in order to find a solution in the national interest. At long last Theresa May has begun a talks process with senior shadow ministers from the Labour Party. Labour has shown willingness to look for a compromise solution, but we are still waiting for the Prime Minister to show her ‘red lines’ are no longer in operation.
“Nevertheless, it is on the basis of these talks that the Prime Minister, having run the clock down, had to go to Brussels looking for an extension.
“It is now up to the Prime Minister to show that she will use the now available time to build a majority that Parliament can accept.”
Liz McInnes, MP for Heywood and Middleton
“This extension until 31 October comes just three weeks after the Prime Minister declared that she was not prepared to delay Brexit any further than 30 June. This represents not only a diplomatic failure but is another milestone in the government’s mishandling of the entire Brexit process.
“Last week the Prime Minister finally decided to do what should have been done at least two years ago: reach out to the opposition and open talks to try to find a breakthrough.
“The fact that the invitation didn’t even come at the eleventh hour, but at five past midnight, three days after the Prime Minister had missed her own Brexit deadline of 29 March is a reflection of the government’s fundamental error in not proceeding by consensus.
“Reports suggest that the talks now taking place between the opposition and the government are detailed and ongoing, but if the government is serious about reaching consensus, the PM’s red lines must move, and we must see a real compromise.
“Labour will continue to work to find a deal that can command not only the support of this House but the support of the public too, so that we can leave the EU in an orderly manner and unite the country.”
Paul Nuttall, North West MEP (Brexit Party)
“I’ve always liked Halloween, but it is tainted for me this year now that those EU chappies have fixed that as the extension date for us waving them goodbye.
“For heaven’s sake, and the sake of our country and our sanity, let’s just leave now with no deal. With the way things are going that’s how it’ll probably end up at the end of October anyway.
“Meanwhile, we will not only be trapped in the Brussels’ enslaving web, we will have had to fork out tens of millions of pounds to take part in the EU elections. In 2014, it cost this country £109 million to participate and it is bound to cost as much if not more this time round.
“That is a horrific waste of money and is a scenario that neither the Conservatives nor Labour will relish as the voters – well, those not too wearied to pen a cross – will punish them for their myriad deceit and lies following the referendum result.”
Richard Tang, Chairman of Zen Internet, a Rochdale-based business
“What a mess! Our politicians can’t decide. The time has come to put the vote back to the people.
“I don’t think anyone who voted in 2016 really knew the true pros and cons of what they were voting for.
“People had a variety of reasons for voting to leave the EU, and I respect their views, but we now know that leaving the EU is bad for business, bad for jobs, and bad for the economy. Those significant downsides were not at all clear in 2016.
“Even more important, is that the world is facing critical challenges – especially climate change. To overcome these challenges, the world needs to be more united, not more split apart.
“If the people have a second chance to vote then I believe many who voted leave would change their minds. And people who didn’t vote last time would vote to stay in the EU. I hope that would be enough to tip the decision the other way, for the good of the UK and the world as a whole.
“The ‘will of the people’ should be allowed to change once the facts are better known.”
Tim Breitmeyer, President of the Country Land and Business Association (CLA), which represents thousands of landowners, farmers and rural businesses
“Whilst not welcomed by all, this extension of the Brexit process to 31 October will avoid an abrupt ‘no deal’ and its negative consequences for farming and the rural economy. In a political debate which has become more and more heated and polarised, this provides some welcome breathing space to unite around the best way forward.
“While the continued uncertainty is unsettling, this should be balanced against having enough time to nurture a post-Brexit relationship with the EU which delivers as free and frictionless trade as possible. This has to be the ultimate goal.
“The extra time needs to be used wisely. We need a more consensual approach to negotiations in both Westminster and Brussels than has been the case to date, so a deal can be collectively delivered which meets the needs of farming and the wider economy.”
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