People from across the political spectrum in Lincoln have been voicing their thoughts about tonight’s crucial vote on the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal.
Following a late-night summit yesterday with the President of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, Theresa May said that she had secured ‘legally binding changes’ to her agreement – after it was defeated in the House of Commons by 230 votes in January.
LSJ News has been canvassing opinion from the broad range of political societies at the University of Lincoln, who have spoken of their beliefs in ideas ranging from a ‘managed no deal Brexit’ to holding a second referendum in 50 years.
University of Lincoln Leave Means Leave Society
In recent weeks, two new societies have been established at the University of Lincoln to reflect the varying Brexit views on campus.
The first to be formed was the University of Lincoln’s Leave Means Leave society.
It’s President, Alfie Thomlinson, told LSJ News that the only viable options left were to leave with a deal or without one.
He said: “17.4 million people did not vote to pay £39 billion out of moral obligation, to be entrapped in a permanent Customs Union or to sign an agreement that does not even guarantee a strong and beneficial trade deal with the EU.
“However, I believe the real question is now whether Brexit will happen at all, and that is more fear than question.
“I support the idea of a People’s Vote, on two conditions.
“That the options are simply ‘Deal or No Deal’ or it is held in 2059, when a new generation can have their day as this one has. If the deal is voted down, then I predict so will No Deal which would be catastrophic to our future negotiations, but most importantly, a fail of our democracy.”
Lincoln Students for Europe
For the Lincoln Students for Europe group, they are also unconvinced by the Prime Minister’s deal.
It’s President, Tom Hulme, told LSJ News: “The tinkering that the Prime Minister engaged in in Strasbourg last night was exactly that: tinkering.
“The Attorney General has today confirmed the legal risks of the backstop remain unchanged and he cannot in all good faith alter his original legal advice.”
The backstop is the Government’s attempt to avoid a physical border in Ireland.
Currently, if we leave the EU, the UK will enter into a transition period during which negotiations on a future trade relationship will take place.
During this time, the UK will remain in the customs union but under the backstop, if no agreement has been reached by the end of this period, the UK would then stay in the customs union until one is.
Some MPs fear this arrangement would trap the UK in the customs union indefinitely. This was what Theresa May was trying to remedy last night.
Tom continued: “MP’s from all sides of the Commons, from the ERG to the Lib Dems to the DUP to the SNP, have rejected this deal once and they should do so again. Following that, it’s time we took this decision back to the country in a People’s Vote.”
University of Lincoln Conservative Society
The President of this society, Seth Goddard, told LSJ News his personal view on the deal: “My ideal scenario is a managed No Deal Brexit by which I basically mean a No Deal with a Transition Period, however after what Theresa has brought back last night I’m basically waiting to see how the events will unfold.
“I’m personally a little worried that if the deal is defeated we’ll end up with no Brexit at all, which I think will be the single biggest betrayal of the public by politicians yet.
“Simply, a Pandora’s Box of emotion has been opened during the referendum campaign, and right now there is no real way to effectively close it. I don’t think the deal will go through tonight if purists let the perfect get in the way of the good, and I fear the result of voting down the deal will equate to not leaving the EU at all. If legal changes have been delivered, we need to vote for the deal if only to make sure that we begin the process of leaving the EU.”
Lincoln Labour Students
For the Lincoln Labour Students group, it’s President, Will Fisher, told LSJ News: “Once again we’ve seen May try and scupper a deal, which is accepted by all her MP’s and the DUP, not in the interest of the UK.
“Nothing seems to have changed since the last vote and I’d expect the deal to be rejected as firmly as the last. The only way to have a breakthrough is to go back to the people, now that we now know how much of a botch job Brexit looks like under the Conservative Government.”
The University of Lincoln Liberal Democrats
The idea of a People’s Vote is also one shared by the Liberal Democrats at the University of Lincoln.
It’s President, Matt Brooks, told LSJ News: “We believe that the Government’s Brexit vote will fail tonight. The previous vote on the deal in January resulted in a defeat of 230 votes for the Government and despite the Government’s best attempts at persuading MPs into voting for it, the deal will not pass.
“There wasn’t one single united universally agreed meaning for Brexit on the ballot paper in 2016, and with significant evidence that people have changed their minds, the Lib Dem society believes the way forward is to put the deal to the people and let them have their say.”
All these opinions are contained on one campus and in one UK city.
Tonight, 650 MPs from across the United Kingdom must decide.
If the deal fails again, the Prime Minister has said that there would be a vote on whether to leave the EU without a deal.
If that were to fail, she has then promised a vote on whether to extend the negotiating process until a satisfactory agreement for Parliament can be found.