Impact of Brexit debated for the first time since leaving the EU

Published on April 25, 2023

The impact of Brexit was debated in Parliament on Monday for the first time since the UK left the EU, with MPs from across all parties calling for a public inquiry. 

The debate was led in Parliament by Martyn Day (SNP), who said that “Brexit remains a live political issue and it will continue to be until the facts are known.”  

“A public inquiry was set up to look into the effect of the pandemic. We need to know where we are before we plot our way forward.”   

MPs from across the UK spoke during the debate of how Brexit has impacted their constituents and the UK as a whole. From the impact on the creative sectors, on tourism and data protection to the loss of funding, skills, healthcare appointments and opportunities for young people and businesses.  

The debate was attended by MPs from a number of parties, including Marsha De Cordova (Labour), Layla Moran (Liberal Democrats), Caroline Lucas (Green Party), Alyn Smith (SNP) and Liz Saville Roberts (Plaid Cymru).  

Public support for an independent inquiry into the impact of leaving the EU is surging just days before a petition has forced Parliament to debate the issue. 

A recent poll revealed that nearly 60% of the British public back a Brexit inquiry, whilst a petition started by the European Movement to demand just that has attracted more than 185,000 signatures, forcing a debate in Parliament on Monday 24th April.  

Labour, Liberal Democrat and SNP voters were the most enthusiastic in supporting the inquiry with around 80% of their voters backing the move. Still, 41% of Conservative voters also think the impact of Brexit should be subject to scrutiny. 

The debate was called by a petition (with over 185,000 signatures) set-up by European Movement member Peter Packham, who said: 

“This will be the first time that MPs have had an opportunity to debate the impact of Brexit, which is an extraordinary place to be three years after leaving the EU. 

“A Public Inquiry into the impact of Brexit is crucial for our country and our democracy. The public has the right to know the outcome of this historic decision and our ability to move forward must be informed by the full knowledge of what has happened so far, what is likely to happen in the future and what steps must be taken to mitigate any negative impacts. 

“Holding a full, independent Public Inquiry should not be a controversial request.” 

On 5th December, a government spokesperson responded to the petition: “The UK’s departure from the EU was a democratic choice and the UK-EU institutions are functioning as intended. The Government does not believe this to be an appropriate subject for a public inquiry.” 

Getting Brexit back on the agenda was an important first step and people have made it clear that there is public interest in an inquiry into the impact of Brexit. A public inquiry into the calamity of Brexit will allow us to highlight the importance of restoring the UK’s place at the heart of Europe.  

The debate has shown that there is still cross-party support to break the conspiracy of silence on Brexit. We now turn to those MPs to use every power they have at their disposal to deliver a public inquiry. 

If you missed the debate, watch it online here. 

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