The independent London newspaper

The referendum gives no mandate for leaving the single market

11 May, 2017

• THE 2015 Conservative manifesto said plainly: “We say Yes to the Single Market”.

In the referendum, countless Conservative Leave campaigners reassured us that there was no question of the UK leaving the single market. Yet now the Conservative government is committed to a hard Brexit and leaving the single market with all the risk to prosperity and influence that will bring.

The referendum gives no mandate for leaving the single market. Quite a few government ministers know this is folly but the pressure from the hard right and desire to keep the party together trumps everything else. It’s party before country.

The question therefore is not whether a Conservative candidate has been a Remainer in the past, but what they would do now if elected – would they commit to rebelling against the party line to ensure the UK does not leave the single market?

As someone who was a Conservative activist for many years, I see sadly no evidence that the great bulk of Conservative candidates would be willing to do that. That’s why I left the party, that’s why so many lifelong Conservatives I know are thinking of not supporting the party this time because of the disastrous direction the party has taken.

And that’s why – as an independent councillor, now without party affiliation, I’m going to be voting Liberal Democrat for the first time and helping two excellent local candidates – Stephen Crosher in Holborn & St Pancras and Kirsty Allan in Hampstead & Kilburn.

Swiss Cottage ward


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