Posted by John Brindley (Staff Author) Posted on 1 February 2020

Post referendum battle was harder than the vote, says jubilant Brexit MP

BREXIT backing MP Andrew Bridgen says that parallel free trade negotiations with the European Union and the United States are the key to taking best advantage of the United Kingdom’s departure from the EU.

Bridgen, Conservative MP for North West Leicestershire and a member of the European Research Group, has particular reason to celebrate Britain regaining its independence.

For after entering Parliament for the first time in 2010, his maiden speech was on the European debate when he said: “I love Europe but I am not a supporter of economic union.”

Encouraged by news that 3.5 million Europeans have decided to stay in Britain, he now hopes their positivity is shared by the general population and thinks that talking with both the EU and America would ‘create the competitive atmosphere which makes a good deal with both of them more likely and the deadline for sealing the deals by 31 December eminently achievable.’

He added: “I was always going to campaign for Leave, never seriously thinking the EU would offer sufficient reforms to persuade me otherwise – but I did worry  they might offer enough to win the referendum for Remain.

“They seriously misjudged the mood of the UK people at the time and have done so repeatedly.”

Bridgen said that when Boris Johnson, now the UK’s Prime Minister, revealed his hand in supporting Leave it convinced him for the first time that the referendum was winnable.

But he then described the haul from the successful referendum vote on June 23, 2016 to the UK’s official departure on January 31, 2020 as ‘in many ways harder than the referendum.’

He added: “I didn’t think it would take as long as it has. In the immediate aftermath of the referendum result, everyone said that ‘we have to accept the democratic result’ but that didn’t last very long.

“What followed was a desperate three-and-a-half-year battle for the soul of the Conservative Party and the future of our country and our democracy.

“In many ways it was harder than the referendum and even more divisive, culminating in the General Election in 2019 I had predicted – but thank goodness once again, as at the 2016 referendum, the electorate got it right.”

But he doesn’t believe Britain would have left the EU had previous Prime Minister Theresa May stayed in charge.

“There were many dark days, the worst probably being Theresa May’s Chequers proposals. I knew from December 2017 that we would never get a meaningful Brexit through in that Parliament and a new leader and General Election would be needed.”

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