Is it time to come out in favour of rejoining the EU?

Recently we’ve seen a Yougov poll putting support for Brexit at new lows, with just 32% of the British public overall and 70% of those who voted Leave thinking it was the right decision. We’ve seen stories of both the Tories and Labour denying that they have plans to rejoin the Single Market and/or Customs Union — with the implication that there is something to deny.

People’s Vote March
For a while I’ve thought the opposite on the grounds that people who voted Leave might find it easier to change their minds if we’re not telling them they were wrong. But, if 30% have already done that, things are different.

With neither Labour nor the Tories speaking up for the majority who now think Brexit was a mistake, is it time for Liberal Democrats to say what others are whispering: we need to rejoin? That’s about speaking up for the EU vision of a peaceful, stable and prosperous Europe with deep respect for democratic values as well undoing the economic harm done by leaving.

Experience may make us wary. In 2019 our promise to cancel the Article 50 notice if we formed the next government backfired: getting enough Liberal Democrat MPs elected to form a government would have been a political earthquake big enough to be a mandate for cancelling Brexit, but people recognised that earthquake wasn’t going to happen. Now we are in a different place. Starting the process of rejoining now would need enough support to mean that neither the EU nor the UK thought we’d try to leave again. That support would need to be shown at the ballot box. Are we at the point when Liberal Democrats can be the nucleus around which it can form?

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