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EU Exit brexit

Leading Britain out of the European Union will be the pre-eminent challenge facing the next Prime Minister, whoever she is.

It will undoubtedly be one of the most difficult and complex challenges faced by any British leader in decades, and has serious implications for the future prosperity – and territorial integrity – of the country.

Therefore it’s important that we go into the negotiations with our European partners with the best possible odds of success. Any suggestion of a second vote would be entirely inimical to this.

If either this Parliament, a new Parliament, or the public were to reject a specific deal, it seems out of the question that Brussels would consent to return to the table and repeat the process until we reached a settlement.

Therefore such a rejection would mean one of two things: ejection from the EU on World Trade Organisation terms or, assuming Brussels fudged the supposed inexorability of Article 50, staying in.

It’s not difficult to see how the prospect of keeping us in would completely change the balance of incentives for Brussels.

As we’ve already seen since the vote, the endless warnings of apocalypse from the continent have already given way to much more practical and conciliatory noises from the likes of Spain, France, and Germany – a notable break from the tone-deaf belligerence of the likes of Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz.

These countries recognise that the UK is one of Europe’s major trading partners and, our decision taken, it’s in everybody’s best interests to reach as good a deal as possible.

Whilst there are sticking points, especially over free movement, the prospect of punitive trade barriers has gone the way of George Osborne’s punishment-beating budget.

By shifting us back into campaign mode and raising the prospect that we might still be scared back into line, a second referendum is an invitation for two more years of gale-force hysterics.

Neither Brussels, nor our trenchant Remainers here, would have any incentive to make Brexit work – and every incentive to do the opposite.

Theresa May has said that “Brexit means Brexit”, and Andrea Leadsom’s commitment to leaving the EU isn’t in doubt. What we need from both candidates now is concrete plans to make sure that happens.

248 comments for: A second vote would cripple the Brexit negotiations

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