THE BLOG
17/09/2018 09:00 BST | Updated 17/09/2018 09:00 BST

Why A 'People's Vote' Is The Only Way To End The Disharmony In The Tory Party

There is no Parliament majority for any kind of Brexit. Whatever is agreed upon will tear this party apart, precipitate a general election and potentially a Corbyn government

Bloomberg via Getty Images

The only issue that is uncontroversial in my party is agreement that there this is constant controversy.

My party is riven with disunity. And on the biggest issue facing my generation - Brexit - there doesn’t appear to Government policy. The government’s Chequers plan is more unpopular than Tony Blair in a meeting of Labour Party members. From Jacob Rees Mogg, who leads the European Research Group, saying that Chequers is “rubbish”, to Justine Greening saying that it was “less popular than the poll tax”.

Every part of the Conservative Party is lining up to attack official policy. Even government ministers such as Sajid Javid sound about as excited about Chequers as I do when I get myself up about doing the washing up.

The Prime Minister’s office was correct in one aspect of their response to Boris Johnson’s inevitable attack on the Chequers plan - they said the proposals were the only credible ones which have been put forward.

That is true. For all the sniping and internecine warfare over the admittedly lacklustre plan, Jacob Rees Mogg’s European Research Group alternative proposals launched this week were something out of fantasy land. They were better off sniping from the sidelines.

And there’s a reason for that.

Anything written down and clear becomes tangible. Something you can hit. You can’t punch the air, and both Hard Brexiters and Theresa May know that.

Because when you actually codify the Jacob Rees Mogg plan for Brexit, you can’t get away from the fact that it will break up the United Kingdom, with a hard border in Northern Ireland.

If Boris Johnson had to put into actual words a roadmap for his type of Brexit, you can’t run away from the significant negative economic impact it will have. There’s a reason he wouldn’t put his name to the ERG’s plan this week.

By the same virtue, if Nick Boles were to operationalise his sort of Brexit, Britain would be weaker and with less influence in the world. A rule taker, not a rule maker.

‘Let a thousand flowers bloom’ doesn’t work when the soil is contaminated and all the plants are trying to kill each other.

It’s not the Conservative Party I signed up for. Ever since 2010 (when I was too young to vote), I’ve been a Conservative supporter and campaigner.

The reason why there are young people like me - and there are far more than others would have you believe - was that my ideals and values were matched by the Conservative Party. It was a progressive party, working to make the country fairer, giving me and millions of others the right to marry, bringing the nation’s finances back from the brink and electing our two first ever female Prime Ministers. It was a party I was proud to support.

I should be clear. I thought the EU referendum was the right thing to do - the issue was slowing tearing my party apart, and was the only way to stem the rise of Ukip.

Like lots of Conservatives, I was disappointed but accepted the 2016 referendum result. I hoped that Theresa May could unite the party around delivering a sensible Brexit.

But it’s clear now that doesn’t exist. And even if it did, Hard Brexiters would actively choose the opposite course.

All I see is a party disunited. Putting at risks the rights we extended, threatening the union and harming the economy.

And Conservatives used to get that our first loyalty was to the country, not party apparatchiks. That’s why we could keep winning when the Labour Party were riven by infighting.

Because loyalty isn’t sticking to a position that you know is wrong for the young people of this country, for our standing in the world and our country’s prosperity. That’s subservience.

So here’s what I want for my party of free minds, free markets and free people: a vote on the final Brexit Deal.

We were the ones who did the right thing and gave the choice to the British people in 2016 (when Labour were too afraid to let people have their say) and we should be again, now that the actual Brexit deal is becoming clear.

It’s not just the right thing to do, but the smart one.

It’s clear there is no kind of majority in Parliament for any kind of Brexit. Whatever type is agreed upon will tear this party apart, precipitate a general election and potentially a Corbyn government.

A people’s vote will allow different parts of the party to campaign for their own respective views, and once over, finally draw a line under Brexit.

Indeed, a final vote may be the only way to stop a Corbyn government.

Young people - such as myself - overwhelmingly support such a vote, and there is growing momentum from across the country in support one.

Even the Labour Party may be forced to move by it’s overwhelmingly pro-EU members, and could force the issue.

Where there is discord, may we bring harmony. Where there is error, may we bring truth.

And the truth is, the only was to end the discord for the Conservative Party is by having a people’s vote.