European Movement Eastbourne Branch – After Dinner Speech - May 2019

Published on May 20, 2019

The Guardian Political Columnist, Raphael Behr was the speaker at our May dinner held at the Hydro Hotel and attended by over 75 members and their guests.

Raphael gave an informative and interesting analysis of the current political situation surrounding Brexit. Labour and Conservative both took a hit at local elections but, Lib Dems had a revival which seemed to take them by surprise and suggests that there are perhaps more Remainers than first thought. The Change UK group had its own problems and there was not going to be a pact with the Lib Dems or Greens. People seemed to be loyal to their parties and he felt this would probably continue although the parties might not look the same in 2 to 3 years.

He was not wholly convinced that the cross-party talks were genuinely trying to seek a withdrawal deal but both parties had to be seen to be trying. It was not easy for the Labour party to cope with the various factions of left, right and Remainers and getting a deal to pass through Parliament seemed highly unlikely. He made the point that even a ‘no deal’ scenario still means that we would have a deal of some kind as we must have a future relationship with the EU.

Although originally wary of a People’s Vote, he thought that the anger and resentment that might accompany it would probably be there anyway. He thought it would be difficult to meet the October deadline to agree a deal and made the point that it took 1 year to trigger Article 50 then so much time was wasted at each stage of the negotiations it didn’t look hopeful.

The speaker at our next dinner on 12 June 2019 will be Professor Tim Bale Professor of Politics at Queen Mary University, London. If you would like to come along please call our Chair, Paula Welch on 07510 851722 or visit

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