The writers of today’s Daily Telegraph lead item embellished their ‘story’ with a few very loud and disturbing dog-whistles.
George Soros, one of our funders, was apparently funding Best for Britain as part of a “secret plot” to “thwart Brexit”. What made the Telegraph’s story more disconcerting was the fact it was bylined to, among others, Nick Timothy, once adviser to Theresa May and still believed to have the PM’s ear.
Our plans at Best for Britain are not secret. We want as many people as possible to know that the biggest decision on Brexit is yet to come – and that’s whether we should back the deal the Government negotiates or whether we stay in and lead in Europe.
Nick Timothy accused us of wanting to topple the Government. That makes for a decent headline, but we have only one aim – to stop Brexit and do what’s best for Britain. We believe that the referendum result gave the Government the right to kick off their negotiations with the rest of Europe and the democratic process around those talks. But what that referendum did not do was give the Government a blank cheque.
When we kicked off Best for Britain last year we raised more than £413,000 over the course of the election campaign from people the length and breadth of Britain. We are proud of the support we have received from funders over the last months, including George Soros, which has allowed us to build a team following the election campaign. We now need to ramp up the fight so we can communicate to people across the country that it’s not too late to change course. We’ve launched a crowdfunder to enable us to fight back stronger than ever for the right to be heard and to cut through the lies and obfuscations of the Brexiteers.
For a year now we’ve been focused on securing and winning a meaningful vote in Parliament, which means that all options can be kept on the table including staying in the EU. We are also open to a second referendum on our membership of the EU – which would also need to be passed via a vote in Parliament. Our only aim is to stop Brexit democratically. No one would be more delighted than us if the May government put all options on the table or offered a referendum on the terms of the deal.
Parliamentary sovereignty means it’s the duty of Parliament to hold the executive to account, and Parliament will have the right to approve, amend or reject the Government’s deal with the rest of the EU. Parliament could also vote to give us a referendum. The failure of Theresa May and her government to take Parliament and our elected representatives seriously is particularly worrying.
The Government is so concerned about how it is mismanaging the process it invented a false choice between ‘deal or no deal’ which amounted to nothing more than blackmail. It is the the Brexiteers and Number 10 who have been plotting against democracy – hiding the impact assessments of Brexit, attempting to quash a meaningful parliamentary vote and trying to set Exit Day in stone.
Around the country people are worried about Brexit. It may not be a coincidence that The Telegraph attack on Best for Britain came just a day after the Brexit impact assessments were leaked. These top secret government documents show in detail how different regions of the country will be punished by Brexit. For example, the North East may suffer a 16% hit to economic growth over just 15 years with a hard Brexit.
The Vauxhall car plant in Ellesmere Port has already started reducing workers’ hours, with some staff laid off, causing huge emotional stress for families whose outgoings are now more than their income.
The reality of leaving the EU is hitting others too. I have spoken to people running start-ups that work across Europe who realise that their businesses may have to consider relocating abroad. There are citizens who have made their life in Britain who no longer feel welcome; and Brits in Europe who are in limbo, unsure if their right to work will continue, with decisions on renting flats, taking jobs and where to raise children being put in doubt.
It’s time for everyone to come clean about the fact that Brexit is not a done deal. Nick Timothy, the Prime Minister and The Telegraph may want us to shut up, but it’s now time for people to speak up. It’s this year, or we’re out of the EU for a generation.
Step up, your country needs you.
Eloise Todd is CEO of the Best for Britain campaign
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