Brexit is top of the agenda at debate society’s meeting

13th February 2018

An MEP for the East of England and the MP for Cambridge took part in a debate on the Brexit deal at Hart’s Books in Saffron Walden on January 26.

Kicking off the Richard Austen Butler Debating Society’s 2018 events calendar, John Flack, Conservative MEP, and Labour MP Daniel Zeichner contested the motion that ‘Leaving the EU without a Negotiated Exit and Trade Deal Would Benefit the UK’.

The speakers covered a range of topics around the on-going negotiations.

Proposing the motion, John Flack MEP talked about his experiences in the European Parliament, where a so-called United States of Europe was being openly discussed and how the wrong kind of deal could tie the UK to this project.

John summarised by saying: “We should continue the negotiations confidently and frankly, looking at our friends and allies in the face; hope to get a good deal for Britain which could also be a good deal for the EU27, but we should not be afraid to walk away with no deal if a good deal is not possible.”

Opposing the motion, Mr Zeichner reflected on what direction the referendum vote would now take and how key sectors could be adversely impacted with limited time left to prepare for dealing with the huge volumes of cross-border and digital transactions.

Mr Zeichner argued that: “In just over a year’s time, we could leave the European Union without any kind of agreement and the question is: what would that actually be like?

“If we would crash out on April Fool’s Day, effectively, in 2019, we will begin to see the kind of consequences that most of us in our lifetimes have not expected to see in a modern industrial country because, basically, things will begin to stop.”

Following the debate and questions from the audience, a vote was taken where the motion was defeated 28-7.

A spokesman for the Rab Butler Society said: “We are very grateful to John and Daniel for sharing their expertise with us and to all those who attended our event. This has been a very promising start to 2018 as we provide a forum for free debate and developing the public speaking talents of members.”

The society’s next event will be Tuesday, February 20, with a special discussion by award-winning Telegraph journalist Liam Halligan on his new book, Clean Brexit.

To register your attendance or find out more about the society, e-mail rabdebating@outlook.com or search @RABDebating on Facebook and Twitter.