UCL Hosts ‘What Next For Brexit?’ Panel Discussion

UCL Hosts ‘What Next For Brexit?’ Panel Discussion

Lord Dick Newby, Lord Andrew Adonis and Caroline Lucas MP took to the stage to discuss Brexit at the event organised by pro-European Union advocacy group ‘Our Future Our Choice’

The discussion on the 9th October was held in the Cruciform in order to promote a People’s Vote, and lasted approximately an hour and a half. The audience, primarily comprised of UCL students, consisted of around 400 people.

Lord Dick Newby, Leader of the Liberal Democrats in the House of Lords, started the evening’s discourse by stating that Brexit has “plunged us into Alice in Wonderland”. He proposed that the government ought to give more consideration to those who contribute to the economy, and claimed that 70% of young people wish to remain in the European Union. He placed emphasis on taking the views of young people “seriously,” addressing the student body as the “future.”  He went on to explain that our service industry relies on immigration as foreign nationals come to the UK in order to do the jobs that the British workforce are unwilling to take on. Furthermore, he called the government’s proposal to limit those earning under £30,000 from coming to the UK “completely illogical and mad,” and stressed the importance of mobilising “ordinary people,” encouraging them to contact their MPs and attend the People’s March on the 20th October.

Lord Newby was followed by Caroline Lucas MP, Member of Parliament for Brighton Pavilion, who, in her speech, explained that a second referendum wouldn’t simply be “a rerun of the question that was asked before”, but rather an opportunity to vote on “the small print of whatever Theresa May brings back from Brussels”. She claimed that since the referendum, “so much new information has come to light,” and branded the £350 million NHS figure “a complete myth”. She compared Brexit to “a hovel with dodgy wiring and a leaking roof”, calling it an act of “intergenerational theft”, and branding 2016’s Remain campaign as “pretty rubbish.” However, she argued that it is important that we don’t disregard the last two years completely but, instead see the Brexit vote as proof of people’s dissatisfaction with the current political climate. She referred to Lord Adonis’ book, highlighting the fact that the regions with the worst social mobility all voted Leave, and drawing a direct correlation between poor economic situations and Brexit.

Lord Adonis was the final speaker, calling upon a “cross-party approach” to the People’s Vote, and claiming that party boundaries are “too rigid”. The audience responded well to his attempts to engage them, as he asked them to raise their hands if they supported a second vote and told jokes about prominent right-wing figures  He told the audience that their generation will “suffer most”, and warned of the “huge ramifications and existential issues” for the EU citizens currently settled in the UK. He proposed sending every voter a copy of the Brexit deal, drawing comparisons to the Good Friday Agreement: “People read it, deliberated on it, knew that it would profoundly affect them – this is the basis on which the referendum was held.”

The ‘People’s Vote March For The Future’ will be held on 20th October at 12pm.

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