Brexit issues– a second referendum?
I have been reflecting upon the progress of Britain’s withdrawal arrangements from the EU due to take effect on 29 March 2019. There is now talk of yet another referendum. This would be a disaster. It would be a betrayal of the 17.4 million voters who on 23 June 2016 voted to leave the EU. A second referendum would mean that the public, already waning in support for their politicians, would have little respect left for them. It would also undermine the sovereignty of Parliament which institution confirmed the result of the referendum.
I do not believe that this government approached negotiations the right way around in 2016 after the Brexit vote. The art of negotiations is to play hardball in order to achieve a result. Britain did not do this, and the current withdrawal deal is not favourable.
In my view it would have been more advantageous for Britain, (and indeed we may not have been in the position that we now find ourselves in) if after the referendum, the government told Brussels that Britain was walking away lock stock and barrel on 29 March 2019, as this is what the British public had voted to do. They had not voted for a deal!
The government could have told Brussels that Britain would trade with the EU after Brexit on WTO terms as indeed we do with countries outside the EU in any event. What we should have done was to then leave the EU to come back to us with view to negotiating a deal if they wanted to, and I believe at that stage they may have done, and we may have secured a better deal, but we were not in the driving seat from the beginning. Instead it was us who went cap in hand to Brussels to endeavour to secure a deal, as though we were afraid of what may happen without a deal. Seeing that we were desperate to secure a deal the EU played their cards to their advantage and made it so difficult for us to leave the union. That is why we now find ourselves in this unenviable position.
It is therefore my view that we should now leave the EU or” crash out “of it as some may say, lock stock and barrel and deal with our former EU partners under WTO terms. We may indeed have some months of difficulty ahead whilst we adjust to the new situation but this can be done. After all what did we do before we joined the EU? We can do the same after we leave.
A second referendum would divide the country when we should be trying to bring people back together again. Those who champion a second referendum have to confront the fact that such an outcome would certainly be divisive and at the same time could not guarantee to be decisive in ending this debate.
A second vote could damage an already fragile public confidence as stated in our democratic institutions. It would be a dishonest act by government ministers who are trying to unwind our democracy. Those who advocate a second referendum have been against Brexit from day one. They should respect the public vote of 23 June 2016. The public have spoken and what this Prime Minister is now trying to do is to carry out the wishes of the public who voted to leave. In my view leaving with a bad deal would be worse than leaving with no deal, and it will also save us having to pay £39 billion in consideration for the current unpopular deal, as part of the divorce settlement.
In preparation for leaving the EU, lower skilled migrants will be given short-term visas after Brexit the Home Secretary has advised. He also said that there will be no cap on highly skilled migrants from outside the EU. If one recalls there have been caps on foreign doctors and other professionals from outside the EU. Those coming to this country will come here based on skills and not from where they come from and this will mark an end to EU domination and preference, and also an end to EU freedom of movement. After all, one of the reasons why Britain is leaving the EU is to gain control of its borders and to end freedom of movement.
Some low skilled migrants from countries with no track record of immigration abuse, (but I must say it is difficult to think what countries they may be), will be given short-term visas of up to one year and then they will have to leave the UK and not return for up to a year. However, whether this is a wise move or not awaits to be seen, but those here during that one-year period may not leave at the termination of 12 months, and may either stay on as illegals and disappear into the black economy, or try to switch into some family category on human rights basis for example, defeating the very purpose for which they would have been given 12 months limited leave to remain.
With respect to medium skilled migrants they will be given permission to enter the UK provided they can show they have secured genuine employment which would pay at least £30,000 per annum.
Students will be able to switch to skilled visas prior to the termination of their student visas without having to leave the UK to apply.
Finally, Investors applying for Tier 1 status for the first time, have for the time being been left off the hook and can apply, but sometime next year, this category may be temporarily frozen pending a proper audit on the source of funds of the investors due to money laundering issues
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Dr Bernard Andonian – the Co-Founder of Gulbenkian Andonian Solicitors, is an experienced Immigration Solicitor, former Judge, and recipient of a PhD in Law from the University of West London. He has over four decades of experience practising UK Immigration, Human Rights and Civil Litigation Law. He has served on the Law Society Immigration Law Panel, achieved numerous groundbreaking decisions in higher courts and is featured in the Legal 500’s Hall of Fame.