‘A new political landscape’ – Brexit threat as Rejoin EU party prepares for next election
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The Rejoin EU Party has two policies: to rejoin the European Union and oppose all forms of discrimination. It is aiming to target remain-supporting areas of the country and make a strong case for overturning Brexit.
Richard Hewison is Leader of the Rejoin EU Party and he wants to make EU membership a reality once again for the UK.
He told Express.co.uk: “Rejoin EU is not a traditional political party, and is probably better regarded as a network of independents who use the label in elections to stand where they feel no-one else is representing their views.
“As such, all I can promise you is that I will be putting myself forward in my community of Barnet and many others will be doing likewise, particularly in the London region.”
Mr Hewison stood for Mayor of London in 2021 on a pro-EU platform and picked up about 100,000 votes in combined first and second choice ballots.
That isn’t much of a dent against the traditional heavyweights like Labour and the Tories, but it proves there is a sizeable number of voters who are drawn to a pro-EU platform.
And there is data backing up the Rejoin EU Party’s campaign: polling by YouGov in June showed that the majority of people in every region of the UK think Brexit is going badly.
This was the strongest in London, with 69 percent of respondents holding a negative opinion of how the Government has handled leaving the EU.
Mr Hewison explained Brexit was once considered an unrealistic prospect, and now he believes his party can make the argument for rejoining – and capitalise on the struggles of Labour and the Tories.
He said: “Brexit wasn’t viewed as a realistic prospect in 2014 when the first Scottish referendum was held, and yet less than 2 years later many people who’d voted for Scotland to remain within the union, some specifically based on their concerns about leaving the EU, found themselves badly let down.
“The current attitude of both the Conservative and Labour parties towards Brexit is essentially determined by just the dogmatic attitude of their two leaders.
“When the tenure of one or both of them is ended a new political landscape will be able to unfold. I personally now think the probability of a Boris Johnson vs Keir Starmer next general election is very low.”
Boris Johnson is struggling right now with polls showing the Tories are slipping out of reach of Labour, and scandal after scandal continues to cause unrest within his party.
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Conservative MPs tried to kick the Prime Minister out in June, but failed when a majority voted to keep him in post – at least for now.
And the Labour Party has faced its own struggles with a long-standing identity battle over its future still unsettled, and swathes of Red Wall seats still in the hands of the Conservatives.
All of this and the cost of living crisis right now makes a return to EU membership all the more crucial, according to Mr Hewison, who argued the reasons for rejoining are even stronger now than the remains arguments were in 2016.
He said: “The experience of the last six years has certainly advanced new ones which I think are probably even more compelling.
“The failure of Brexit to have achieved anything is a strong argument to rejoin. None of the stated objectives at the time of the 2016 referendum have been achieved.
“Food prices haven’t fallen, holiday travel is now more difficult, immigration hasn’t been brought under control, wages haven’t risen, quite the reverse in real terms, and those in society facing the greatest hardships have seen no improvements to their situation, again quite the reverse.
“Indeed, six years later even Brexit itself has not really been fully achieved, with ‘transitional’ border arrangements extended indefinitely, even Jacob Rees-Mogg admits to truly take control of our borders would be an act of self-harm, and the Northern Ireland Protocol hangs by a thread.
“Let’s remember: abandoning the NI Protocol could essentially part-reverse Brexit all by itself.”
However, a widespread victory for the Rejoin EU Party remains unlikely, and as Mr Hewison put it: “none of us are drafting our maiden speeches quite yet.”
But pro-EU candidates could present a major threat to the established parties in the next election and take votes in key swing seats.
Last month, experts told Express.co.uk an informal pact could be formed between Labour and the Lib Dems to win back Tory seats – even the Prime Minister’s which has a majority of just 7,000.
And the Rejoin EU Party will be seeking to capitalise on Britain’s political chaos and offer EU membership as a credible alternative to voters – threatening Brexit and offering a route back to Brussels.
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