Warning for Ireland as May’s Resignation means UK Political Uncertainty

24 May 2019

Reacting to the resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May, the leader of the Labour Party, Brendan Howlin TD called for Ireland to move to an ‘Orange Warning’ as politics in the UK will be unstable for a time, especially following the EU elections there. He said that we must use all our influence to seek for the UK Government to back a new public vote, and to persuade the British people that their best interests lie within a reformed European Union.

Brendan said: “The resignation of Prime Minister Theresa May represents the exhaustion of the current political process around Brexit. It is now clear that the negotiated withdrawal agreement and political declaration are dead in their current form.

“In Ireland, we must move our preparations to an ‘Orange Warning’, as the risk of a disorderly no deal Brexit is now a real and present danger to jobs and the economy. Theresa May’s resignation opens up the possibility of change, but without clear, strong leadership there is a risk that political chaos will follow, and there is little time left to secure a stable future path for the United Kingdom’s relationship with Europe.

“Labour’s view is unchanged that working people in Ireland and the UK will all be better off if the UK remains in the European Union, especially if the UK uses its influence to seek fundamental change in how the EU works. I call on my UK Labour colleague, Jeremy Corbyn, to take this opportunity to set out a new direction for his party and his country.

“So much has happened since 23rd June 2016 that British politics risks becoming stuck in a time warp forever if its political leaders do not move beyond that single moment.

“Referendums are an important part of our democratic systems, but they only serve the public good if they exist alongside robust parliamentary decision-making, accountable Government leadership, an independent media and strong civil society.

“Under the British constitutional tradition, the referendum was an advisory vote. People voted three years ago on the basis of a range of issues, including their own economic wellbeing as well as information spread by the Remain and Leave campaigns. It cannot be inconsequential in a democracy that the Leave campaign was found to have broken British electoral law and spread misinformation. It is legitimate and democratic to interpret the Leave vote result and to seek to address the fundamental reasons for that vote, some of which can be addressed without leaving the EU.

“On balance, it is highly likely that only a minority of people in the UK want to leave the EU without a deal, given the harm this would do to the British economy. There is every reason for UK Labour to offer a positive vision of a Social Europe that could bring the EU in a new direction. A renewed UK membership at the heart of Europe could help us to counteract economic inequality, take substantial action on climate change and deliver a better future for the British people.

“Our own Government should do everything in their power to persuade the next British Government to consider a new public vote and to set out the case for remaining inside a reformed and renewed European Union.”


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