Douglas Carswell

02 FEB 2017

Parliament needs to stop refighting the referendum

Three cheers for TheCityUK! Its latest report anticipates post-Brexit opportunities, instead of rehearsing yesterday's arguments. If only MPs could do the same.

TheCityUK isn't the only lobby group to perform a volte face on Brexit. The CBI has too. Project Fear pessimism is gradually being replaced by optimism.

I suspect the lobbyists are now playing catch up with their clients. Public-affairs folk may have bought into George Osborne's narrative, but businesspeople are pragmatic. Now that Brexit is happening, they're interested in the potential gains, not the spin.

But that positive attitude still hasn't spread to all of the House of Commons. In the Article 50 debates, many MPs seemed to be stuck in a pre-referendum time-warp, repeating talking points from the Remain campaign. Many others supported Article 50 through gritted teeth.

That approach is counterproductive. Not just because it doesn't help the government going into Brexit negotiations. But because a forward-looking Parliament could be remarkably effective.

Taking back control from the EU is a big job for legislators. This Parliament and the next will have more influence on Britain than any has had for decades.

As TheCityUK says, this is a once-in-a-generation chance to shape our future. If only MPs could see it.

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