As mayor of London, I’m clear we need to revoke Article 50 and end this Brexit disaster

Sadiq Khan
1 / 2
As mayor of London, I’m clear we need to revoke Article 50 and end this Brexit disaster

Enough is enough.

Our government has deliberately brought Britain to within days of a catastrophic no-deal Brexit – something that would cause irreparable damage to jobs and communities. It has to stop, right now.

Theresa May must listen to the thousands of people that are taking to the streets of London in protest tomorrow, and to those others making their voices heard around the country.

She must revoke Article 50 – stopping the clock on Brexit to give us time to sort out her mess – and the British public must get the final say on what happens next.

It has been blindingly obvious that Theresa May’s chaotic Brexit strategy would lead us to this disastrous point ever since she set out her wrongheaded “red lines” for the negotiations and invoked Article 50 long before she needed to and with no plan whatsoever.

It didn’t have to be this way.

It was possible for the prime minister to secure a Brexit deal that protected our jobs, economy and the rights of EU citizens in the UK while respecting the outcome of the referendum. Britain could have left the institutions of the European Union while remaining in both the customs union and the single market.

This is what business leaders called for. This is what trade union leaders called for. But the prime minister ignored us all. This failure is on her.

That opportunity has now passed. The clock has run down. There is no time left for further negotiations. And the prime minister has wasted the goodwill of our European neighbours with her chaotic and confused approach. Those who wanted to help us secure a good deal for both sides now just want the process to end.

We are already paying the price for Theresa May’s failure.

The uncertainty she has deliberately created as she puts her party before her country has come at a cost. Business investment has fallen and almost every week another major manufacturer warns they are reducing production in Britain. Growth forecasts for this year were downgraded again at the Spring Statement. Businesses are being forced to put time, effort and money into preparing for a no-deal Brexit, rather than into creating new jobs and growth.

The uncertainty she has created has also taken an unforgivable toll on EU citizens living in our country. They have been used as bargaining chips and made to feel unwelcome by this government in the country they have made their home. They are our friends, neighbours, colleagues and family members – and they belong here whatever happens with Brexit.

The choices left on the table with less than a week to go are simply appalling: Theresa May’s bad deal that would destroy opportunities for the next generation – and which stands almost no chance of getting through parliament after her dangerous attack on MPs and our democratic institutions; or even worse, a catastrophic no-deal Brexit which would cause nothing short of a major national emergency.

But there is another way – if the prime minister is brave enough to take it.

Nobody voted for this craven national humiliation. Nobody voted to make themselves and their families poorer. Nobody voted for the division that has torn through our country as a result of the prime minister’s wrongheaded and stubborn approach.

It is within Theresa May’s power to fix this. The courts have ruled that we can unilaterally revoke Article 50 to stop the clock ticking down to a no-deal Brexit. And if the prime minister finally puts the national interest before the interests of the Conservative Party then parliament will surely back her to give the public the final say.

Some say a fresh public vote will cause further division. I disagree – it is the opportunity we desperately need to heal the divisions that have only widened since the referendum.

Others say that it would be undemocratic. But what could be more democratic than giving the British public the final say over our future?

This week really is our last chance. And the choice in front of us is immense. That’s why so many thousands of us from every corner of the country are protesting in London tomorrow.

At the moment, our future is in Theresa May’s hands. It’s time for her to revoke Article 50 and give us the final say on Brexit.

Sadiq Khan is the mayor of London