Labour MP Clive Lewis took aim at the Conservative government’s chaotic Brexit strategy during BBC Question Time on 28 June. And many people in the audience clearly agreed with him.
“Working people in this country will pay the price for your incompetence”
Speaking about the aggressive and adversarial way the government appears to be conducting Brexit negotiations, Lewis said:
These are people’s lives we’re talking about. There are people that are gonna lose their jobs. [Applause]
And he continued:
There are businesses that are gonna fold. Do you not understand that?
Rees-Mogg and his millions, you know, and people who are hedging against the pound and speculating – they might not be affected by this, and their ideological purity will remain intact. But working people in this country will pay the price for your incompetence and your ideological purity. [Applause]
"Working people in this country will pay the price for your incompetence''@labourlewis says the government's handling of Brexit will cause significant damage to the lives of working people #bbcqt pic.twitter.com/H9dQIOdMQy
— BBC Question Time (@bbcquestiontime) June 28, 2018
Can we trust the rich and powerful to really care what happens?
Lewis’s comments came in a week when reports emerged that hedge funds had made millions off the collapse of the pound on the night of the Brexit vote and that high-profile Leave campaigner Nigel Farage was allegedly ‘in on it’. One photo, in particular, shows Farage apparently smiling as the pound tanked in the aftermath of the referendum.
Farage claims this is all “conspiratorial nonsense”, and that he “had no financial interest in currency movements on the night of Brexit”.
But who are we really going to trust on Brexit? Because as journalist Paul Mason argued, regarding the rich and powerful people “leading the Brexit movement”:
They talk about defying the “elite”. But they are the elite.
And one Twitter user summed this up perfectly:
• Farage making billions for City friends.
• Rees-Mogg moving business to Ireland.
• Johnson backing Leave side to improve his career prospects.
• Redwood advising investors to pull money out of UK.
Will non-wealthy Brexiters ever accept they’ve been screwed over? (no) pic.twitter.com/iup1mslhQz
— Damon Evans (@damocrat) June 25, 2018
“Let’s go about this in a way of cooperation”
Back on Question Time, Clive Lewis called for a different approach to Brexit negotiations. Instead of trying to “do the other person over” – treating Brexit like a “poker game” or “haggling for a bag of sausages”, he said:
We’re neighbours. We need each other. We rely on each other. And let’s go about this in a way of cooperation.
The Conservative government is in a mess over Brexit – in large part because loud voices in the party have no vested interest in getting ordinary working people a Brexit deal that doesn’t screw them over.
We need to demand better.
– If you have concerns about the way the government is conducting Brexit negotiations, write to your political representatives to let them know how you feel.
– Support The Canary so we can keep holding the powerful to account.
Featured image via screenshot