Devizes Member of Parliament Claire Perry recently tweeted:
“I would not block No Deal. Painful and ignominious as it would be.” (1) Three years ago she said: “I can’t find one credible source that suggests quitting the EU would be anything other than damaging for British jobs and British workers.” (2)
All of us change our minds; no problem with that. But elected representatives owe their constituents an explanation for extraordinary about-turns like this one.
We have written to Claire Perry asking her to reveal what new evidence she has for risking a No Deal outcome. We have seen none. To the contrary: dire warnings from people who know what they are talking about have become a daily diet. The Confederation of British Industry says No Deal is “a tripwire into economic chaos.” (3) The National Farmers’ Union thinks it would be “catastrophic.” (4) The Chancellor of the Exchequer reckons it might cost the country about £90 billion.
Politicians like Boris Johnson and Claire Perry who refuse to block No Deal may well deliver precisely that outcome whether that is what they really want or not. Bringing down the curtain on the long-running farce of Brexit by crashing out of the EU will diminish the UK. And it will do so with all the national ignominy and individual pain that Claire Perry herself anticipates.
It is a tragedy that Devizes now lacks an MP willing to stand up for her own constituents, none of whom voted to be poorer. Though Devizes is a rural constituency, Claire Perry refuses to fight even for farmers. In a No Deal scenario, many of them will find their exports to continental Europe competitively disadvantaged by heavy tariffs.
About 70% of food imports come from the EU. A crash-out Brexit will stoke food prices. If they stoically put up with ignominy, will Devizes constituents endure pain with equanimity as they shuffle anxiously towards the fictitious sunny uplands of post-Brexit Britain?
We remain convinced that there is no deal better than the UK already has as a member of the European Union. That’s why Devizes for EU will be joining ‘March for Change’ in London on 20 July in order to say NO to Boris, YES to Europe. Come and join us!