Douglas Carswell

18 JAN 2017

Theresa May is broadening the Brexit coalition

Think back to January 2016. If you'd been told we'd have a Prime Minister committed to Brexit – without caveats – within a year, would you have believed it? That's how far we've come.

What was significant about the PM's speech yesterday wasn't that she confirmed Brexit entails leaving the single market and the customs union. We knew that already.

No, what struck me most was her tone. Positive. Internationalist. Recognising that the economic opportunities for Britain in the 21st century lie beyond Europe's frontiers. Prepared to work with the EU pragmatically – but as an equal, not a supplicant.

I felt that the Prime Minister channelled the infectious optimism that Boris Johnson brought to the Leave campaign – which is all the more remarkable because she wasn't a Leaver herself.

Seven months ago, that upbeat approach helped build the broad coalition we needed to win the referendum. Now it will help to bring former Remainers on board with Brexit too. Others will follow the PM's example.

So I'm incredibly excited. Resistance in Westminster and Whitehall is melting away. Britain is coming together behind a liberal Brexit. This time, the people are winning.

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