05 March 2019

Brexit: where are we now – and what next?

A captivating debate to an engaged and sceptical audience, with pro-Brexit and pro-remain sides represented by Claire Fox and Lord Adonis respectively.

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The Brexit debate on Tuesday 26 February, chaired by Adam Boulton, editor-at large of Sky News, was captivating. The two sides, pro-Brexit and pro-remain, were represented by Claire Fox and Lord Adonis respectively.

Claire Fox is the Director of the Institute of Ideas and advocates discussion; while she doesn’t believe that Theresa May’s Brexit deal is the way to leave, she still thinks Brexit has potential. Lord Adonis is a Labour peer and second referendum campaigner.

During the debate, all of the main issues surrounding the original referendum were addressed and the future of Brexit was speculated upon. While the audience were largely pro-remain, Claire successfully rebutted and put forward points on why Brexit will benefit Britain, believing it will improve democratic accountability by reducing remote, technocratic government. She also argued passionately against a condescending dismissal of the pro-Brexit vote.

Lord Adonis, having recognised that he had an advantage, mainly put forward the case that a second referendum is lawful under the grounds that the original referendum was only advisory and, in order to disprove claims that another referendum would be ignoring the wishes of a democracy, that nothing could be more democratic than a referendum.

The ever-sceptical audience were eager to ask questions on a range of topics from whether Russia would be more of a threat to a divided Europe to whether the overspending on the Vote Leave campaign currently being investigated illegitimised the result.

The main points of clash between the sides, who both believed that Theresa May’s deal was not viable, was the second referendum and, thanks to audience input, whether people aged 16 to 18 should be able to vote. While Claire thought that the voting age should stay the same, Lord Adonis thought that since the people most affected by Brexit will be the younger generation, they should take the future into their own hands.

I think the debate highlighted that it is important for everyone to take action if they want to preserve our country for future generations.

 Henry Hollingworth, Year 10

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