EU Referendum

Brexit: getting on with it


"... Because Brexit means Brexit, and we're going to make a success of it… there will be no attempts to stay within the European Union".

That's what the lady says, and she's going to be Prime Minister on Wednesday. This is not optional, it's not debatable and there's nothing we can do about it. On Wednesday night, if all goes according to plan, Mrs May will be in No.10.

Whether Mrs May means what she says, only time will tell. The crucial test is invoking Article 50. Basically, there are two options. We either play it long – not going until after the French and German elections, putting in the papers late next year.

Politically, that's almost certainly unacceptable. Therefore, we need to play it short. We can avoid the certain disaster that that would bring by leveraging an early notification against an agreement by the EU to extend the negotiation period – say to five years – as the first order of business.

What then happens is, to a very great extent, up to the larger "leaver" community. If we sit back and relax, or continue promoting unrealistic leave options, then the "remains" will make the running. We'll be left out in the cold.

Basically, the smart money is on EEA-plus, but we have to make it clear that this is only an interim option, and start pushing for recognition that there is an end game, beyond the EEA option.

We also have to settle the freedom of movement issue, and I am now confident that this can be secured within the framework of the EEA Agreement. But this is going to take considerable negotiation skills, and strong organisation.

For the rest, we have to play the hands we have been dealt. We have no option but to take May at her word – but also keep up the agitation to make absolutely sure that she keeps to it.

It has to be made very clear that the Government relies on our consent to govern. That consent, currently, is entirely contingent on the Government honouring the result of the referendum. If there is any attempt to backtrack, that consent will be withdrawn. We will make the UK ungovernable.

In the meantime, we need to get on with it. We get a grip, or we go under.