In the departure lounge

on .

The referendum result was a surprise to pollsters, betting agencies and even many in the Leave campaign. In the following weeks, the media has concentrated on the political impact rather than on what Brexit actually means. The establishment of what is effectively a new Government has been dramatic, even brutal. The new Prime Minister has made a firm start showing that she has thought hard about the job. The fallout has also affected other parties with leadership elections taking place in the Labour Party and UKIP.
 
Now as MPs return to Parliament, tanned and hopefully refreshed, the realities of the referendum vote are starting to be understood. Britain will leave the EU. Those who wrote to me pleading for another referendum must be starting to understand that under this Prime Minister the will of the British people will be honoured. 
 
At this stage there are clear irreconcilables in delivering Brexit. It seems almost impossible to imagine Britain remaining in the single market without accepting free movement of labour. Ending free movement was a key requirement of the campaign that won the referendum. But then without remaining in the single market Britain risks losing jobs as companies have to move factories and head offices to countries that are in the single market. This all needs to come with a clear health warning: what looks impossible today may not be so as negotiations get underway. 
 
Alongside this there is another factor to consider. The reform agenda that Britain has been leading on in Europe was never just the wish of one country. Other EU countries, spurred on by their voters, want reform and it might just be that in areas such as free movement they will come closer to our needs than seems possible at this early stage.
 
As you can see, I am being unbearably optimistic in the face of a decision that did not go my way. But better that than gloom and apocalyptic predictions. That may be for a future date… 
 
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Richard Benyon was re-elected as the Member of Parliament for Newbury on 7 May 2015, with an increased majority of 26,368. Richard won 61 per cent of the vote share.

 

 

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