East Devon MP Sir Hugo Swire says he is against a ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit saying the UK can not afford any more uncertainty on the issue.
In his latest column, Sir Hugo has been sharing his thoughts on the chance of a second referendum on the UK’s membership of the European Union (EU).
In all the fog that surrounds Brexit, it is all too easy to forget what else is going on.
“And the outlook is pretty mixed but first and foremost there is a big change going on in the global economy.
“In the heyday of globalisation there was little political risk; governments came and went, taxes went up and down, life was relatively predictable.
“But it wasn’t all rosy.
“With globalization inflation came for those with assets whilst those without, particularly the young, saw their real incomes suppressed.
“This has led to a loss of faith in capitalism and a consequential rise in populism, through nationalism and socialism.
“Today, this increased political risk is also affecting business and investment activity in the western economies.
“President’s Trump’s trade war with China, the Yellow Vest movement in Macron’s France, the arrival of a populist government in Italy and the risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit in the United Kingdom are all challenging the global economy as we know it.
“Only last week The International Monetary Fund downgraded its forecast for global growth this year to 3.5% from 3.7%, with the sharpest slowdown being in the growth of global trade.
“But, compared to other countries Britain’s performance is not quite so bad. The UK is forecast to grow by 1.3% faster than Germany and Italy and on a par with France. However, this assumes an orderly Brexit.
“In truth we cannot afford to have any more Brexit uncertainty which is why I’m against a ‘people’s vote’.
“A second referendum would lead to even more uncertainty for businesses and investment for a year to come and probably years after that.
“Besides, there is no majority for a ‘peoples vote’ in Parliament so it’s not going to happen.
“And even with a fair wind on Brexit it will be a long while yet before the populist tide subsides in Western economies, restoring a degree of political stability, which in turn will bring a renewed global confidence.
“Until then we have elections for the European parliament, which will see many populists and nationalists elected for the first time.
“But it’s not all doom and gloom! Borrowing is at a low in the UK.
“This is vital because if we live within our means, we can invest more in the things that matter, like the NHS and schools.
“Foreign investment is also up and employment is currently running at a record high. Even wages are rising higher than prices. We now need to hold our nerve and overcome the political risks, which means delivering Brexit as soon as we can.
“Then we can all move on.”