Naomi Long: People’s Vote is clearest route out of this impasse over Brexit

Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

A People’s Vote needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency after the prime minister’s proposed Brexit Withdrawal Agreement was rejected by MPs.

The government and Parliament, which voted 391-242 against Theresa May’s deal, is now hopelessly divided and in a shambles.

For Alliance, the backstop was the bottom line to protect the particular circumstances of Northern Ireland, and we were prepared to be pragmatic towards it.

But now, it seems the only paths are to see a catastrophic no deal outcome, the government working across the House of Commons to find a softer version of Brexit, or reconsidering Brexit in its entirety.

In the short run, taking a no deal off the table must be the immediate priority.

In itself and without a clear plan, this resolves nothing.

The House of Commons is good at saying what it is against, but can’t manage to give a clear answer on what it is for. But the UK is too close to the cliff-edge and every day of uncertainty sees more and more economic and social damage.

The clearest, most coherent and most democratic route through this impasse lies with a People’s Vote, including both the prime minister’s deal and the Remain option.

This needs to be tested in Parliament as a matter of urgency.

Naomi Long MLA, Alliance leader, Stormont