Work, the right to vote in Great Britain and in the background… Reversal of Brexit?

By | May 18, 2023

“Look, we are not going to re-enter the EU. But we have to improve this agreement” on Brexit, he said on Wednesday in BBC Keir Starmer, Labor leader, and essentially prime minister-in-waiting, of Great Britain. “Of course we want,” he added, “a closer business relationship.”

It had just come after carmaker Stellantis, one of the world’s biggest, warned it may have to close factories, particularly in its electric vehicle supply chain, if London does not renegotiate its Brexit deal with the EU.

The current arrangements, he stressed in a memo to the relevant House of Commons committee, are “a threat to our export activities and the viability of our manufacturing activities in the UK.”

As the cost of living crisis impoverishes the average Briton, the latest polls show a solid majority now believe Brexit was a bad idea.

Nearly seven years after the controversial referendum on June 23, 2016, in which five Conservative Prime Ministers rotated Downing Street (only two of whom were elected nationally), 58% of Britons say they would vote for stay in the EU today.

This is clearly a “significant increase, compared to the division of public opinion, broadly speaking, for 2021,” the UK observes in a Changing Europe think tank.

According to Luke Trail, director of the research firm More in Common, there is in fact an increasingly intense ‘Bregret’: that is, a deep disillusionment with Brexit.

He believes, however, that there is “little appetite for Brejoin”, a complete reversal of that. At least not yet…

The “enigma” of the urn

In any case, “it is increasingly difficult for British ministers to deny that Brexit has hurt the economy,” observes The Independent.

Updated estimates from the UK’s Office of the Budget (OBR) point to a 4% hit to GDP and a 15% drop in exports and imports, compared to the long-term outlook if the country had not “divorced” from the EU.

As a former Labor Brexit ‘shadow’ minister and staunch supporter of the idea of ​​a new referendum on the issue, “Keir Starmer campaigned against Brexit and lost,” observes political commentator Andrew Grace.

As Britain heads to the polls for the next general election, the first with Starmer at the head of the current official opposition, “will ‘Bregret’ voters reward him now,” he wonders?

Labor not only seem to take it for granted (in opinion polls they always come first, leading by as much as 17% over the Conservatives), they are making more plans for the next day.

If they are the next government, the Telegraph reveals, they plan to enfranchise millions of adult EU citizens who live in Britain, pay taxes and meet all the criteria for settled status in future general elections. Today there are a total of 3.4 million, regardless of age.

Labor is also considering enfranchising 1.4 million 16- and 17-year-olds.

If these two measures are implemented in the future, it is estimated that the UK’s electorate will increase by 8% in total, in its biggest expansion in almost a century.

It could be further expanded by adding another 2.6 million immigrants from EU countries, who currently have “pre-settled” status in Britain.

The pre-election “speculation” of Brexit

The Labor Party’s plans to enlarge the British electorate are currently being discussed at its top levels.

Once the final decisions have been made, they will be included in the party’s electoral program, pending the next elections.

Whenever this happens, by early 2025 at the latest, they are considered critical to the future of Britain.

Though forward-looking and certainly theoretical for the time being, the Labor suffrage proposals under consideration have already cast doubt on the ruling Conservatives.

Faced with a wave of growing popular discontent with his economic policy, but also with intra-party quarrels that have not ceased, they accuse Keir Starmer of… “giving speeches” for a long time.

With the logic that potential new voters will support Labour, and that most EU immigrants live in big cities and the south of England, top executives sweat the idea that they could be voted out of key areas such as London.

Not a little, not a lot, the conservative newspaper daily mail openly accused Starmer of wanting to “rig elections” in the future and “conspiring to reverse Brexit”.

Tory party leader Greg Hunts himself accused Labor of “laying the groundwork for dragging the UK back into the EU.”

A Conservative spokesman told the Telegraph that any move on voting rights would amount to a veiled attempt to hold another referendum and “an admission by Sir Keir Starmer that he does not trust the British people.”

He himself denies it.

“There is no plan to reverse Brexit,” he told LBC radio. “I don’t know how many times I’ve said there’s no way we’re going back” to the EU.

According to the Labor leader, what is at stake now is different. The goal, he stressed, is “to make Brexit work.”

Intergovernmental “waxing”

While the public debate is currently monopolized by what-if scenarios, unseen Brexit-related developments are playing out in the political background.

Although Prime Minister Rishi Sunak had initially pledged to repeal all EU regulations and directives (incorporated into British law) within his first 100 days in office, it seems they are now rather… “taking advantage”.

Following the recent new agreement between the United Kingdom and the EU for trade relations, known as the “Windsor Framework”, the British government has taken a new turn in its plans.

And so, instead of abolishing at the end of 2023 -as had been implemented- all the remaining European regulations in force in Great Britain, it was decided to abolish this deadline as well.

Practically, there will be a “discard”.

The measure means that “only certain EU laws will be repealed,” explains The Independent. “About 2,800 could remain in the UK,” reports the FT. Modified or not…

Many called the decision realistic.

But the development has angered the hardest Brexiteers in the Conservative ranks. And they are not even few.

And following the collapse of the ruling party in England’s local elections in early May, the “knives” have slowly begun to return to the Conservatives, as Rishi Sunak’s “dolphin” wannabes – some not so inconspicuously – battle position for leadership.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *