Douglas Carswell

12 JUL 2016

How to build the new Brexit consensus

Theresa May will be Prime Minister by tomorrow. She was a Remainer, but she has made clear Brexit means Brexit. No backsliding. No backdoor membership. No second referendum.

Many Leavers would have preferred to see a committed Brexiteer in charge. But the truth is any new PM would have faced the task of building a broad coalition behind Brexit. That coalition must include Remainers.

I believe many Remainers are interested in working with us to make Brexit a success. Our job is to reach out to them.

So how do we do it?

First, we have to keep our promises – starting with the status of EU nationals already living legally in the UK.

Both UKIP and Vote Leave have consistently maintained that EU nationals legally resident here before the referendum should have the indefinite right to remain. We need to allay their fears, and stick to our commitment.

Second, we need to put the outward-looking, optimistic outlook we upheld during the campaign into practice.

Let's welcome the offers Britain has already received from Australia, New Zealand, the USA and others to strike new trade deals. And let's keep working together, as good neighbours, with our European allies.

Third, we should find ways to reassure the most concerned sectors of our society and our economy.

Universities, for example, are worried about losing access to EU research collaborations and exchange programmes. But Britain doesn't need to be an EU member to participate in these schemes. Non-EU Israel participates in Horizon 2020. Non-EU Turkey is part of ERASMUS.

Leaving the EU doesn't mean losing positive bilateral UK-EU cooperation. We, on the Leave side, should push to make sure we keep it.

All the pre-referendum Remain rhetoric about post-Brexit British isolation has already been ditched. Angela Merkel has said she wants a good deal. Even George Osborne is making the case that Britain is open for business.

A new post-Brexit consensus is emerging. Let's help to build it.

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