If May stays at No 10 - I’m starting Project Hope, the positive case for remain | Eurasia Diary - ednews.net

19 June, Wednesday


If May stays at No 10 - I’m starting Project Hope, the positive case for remain

Staying in the EU gives Britain the best shot at fixing the grievances that fuelled the Brexit vote. If there’s no election, we need a referendum

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It appears increasingly likely that Theresa May’s bad Brexit deal will be rejected by parliament – and rightly so. It’s a deal that would cause huge damage to the future of our country, putting jobs, prosperity and social mobility at grave risk.

Tuesday’s vote is the biggest in parliament since the Iraq war – and every MP should think extremely carefully about the legacy they want to leave. I urge MPs of all political parties to put aside tribal politics and do what’s in the best interests of their constituents and the next generation.

If MPs reject the deal, then Theresa May should do the responsible thing: immediately step aside and call a general election. Sadly, the Tories have a long history of putting their party above the national interest, so if an election is not immediately called, I will step up my campaign for a public vote – with the option of remaining in the EU on the ballot paper. It’s clear that if our government and parliament are incapable of finding a way out of this mess, it should be taken out of the hands of the politicians and returned to the British people to take back control and have their say.

Our politics and public debate have never been as angry and divided as they are now – and some say a public vote would create yet more division and disillusionment. I strongly disagree. A public vote would not only allow us to move beyond the current stalemate but would start the desperately needed process of healing the deep divisions that have opened within our society.

The blatant lies, mistruths and deceptions told by the Leave campaign during the EU referendum – which were laid bare for all to see in the Channel 4 drama Brexit: The Uncivil War last week – could not be used again. And those of us arguing to remain could run a campaign full of positivity for the future – Project Hope, not Project Fear. This would mean we could finally make the optimistic case for staying in the EU as well as retaining the free movement of people – something that too many politicians have been afraid to do for generations.

Back in 2016, I – along with Gordon Brown, and others – tried to make this positive, patriotic and values-based case for Britain remaining in the EU, but we were too often drowned out by negative campaigning – on both sides. If there is another public vote, we can, and must, take a very different approach – one that brings our country back together.

We can demonstrate that, when Britain takes a leadership role in Europe, our soft power spreads our liberal democratic values and helps to protect human rights

Lastly, there is one group for whom this decision really matters because it’s their future that’s on the line – young people. Their voice was not properly heard during the 2016 EU referendum and this should not be allowed to happen again in such a crucial democratic decision for the future of our country. One important way to achieve this would be to reduce the voting age to 16.

Europe is awash with opportunities for young Britons – whether it’s the chance to go on cultural exchange programmes, study abroad or get funding for an apprenticeship. In the next public vote, young people must be front and centre, with the message heard that remaining in the EU as a confident member can only leave a legacy of opportunities for our children, for our grandchildren and for future generations.

Sadiq Khan

The Guardian

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