Five years on from the UK referendum that would take us out of the EU and what have we learned?
The one thing both sides can probably agree on is that the way the UK left the EU was not handled as well as it could have been. To start with, that was the fault of the leavers, who appeared not to know what they meant by Brexit, and whose two leaders, Boris Johnson and Michael Gove, fell out with each other in spectacular fashion. When Andrea Leadsom also fell by the wayside, that meant it was left to a remainer – albeit a reluctant one – to negotiate our departure.
It was then that the remainers miscalculated, thinking that they had a chance of stopping Brexit altogether, which in hindsight they probably never did. All they succeeded in doing was to hand Johnson a big election mandate for a “hard” form of Brexit.
Since then, the remainers have been right about two things. One, the cost of leaving the EU was sharper and more immediate than most economists expected, although it was concealed by the effects of the coronavirus. Two, Brexit was not the end of negotiations with the EU, but the beginning, as we saw at the G7 summit in Cornwall.
But remainers have to accept that the success of the British vaccines has unexpectedly strengthened the argument that the EU is a slow and inefficient bureaucracy.
Here at The Independent we are preparing to discuss all of the above, and more, as we mark the historic vote anniversary with an exclusive virtual event, which is free to attend, and is being hosted by none other than our very own chief political commentator John Rentoul.
Alongside John will be our political columnist and former political editor Andrew Grice and Whitehall editor Kate Devlin. During the stream the trio will be recounting their own experiences and memories of that day in 2016 as well as quizzing our two guest political speakers David Gauke, former justice secretary, and Lord Adonis, chair of the European Movement, who are set to join them on the panel for the evening.
They will examine how it came about that the leave vote conquered and address the fallout that followed. There will also be assessment of where it has led us to now that we are six months down the line from officially leaving the European single market and what the future holds. After the discussion there will be opportunity to ask the panel questions about their own insight and opinions on Brexit as well as what the future holds for the EU.
The event will be held on June 23 at 6.30pm.
The event has now sold out.
However, to ensure you don’t miss out, a full recording of the discussion is now available here to all registered users.