On Thursday the 15th of November, YCGE and the Conservative Association of Royal Holloway hosted Antoinette Sandbach MP for a discussion ‘On a Brexit for Students’. This was held in the Arts Building at Royal Holloway, University of London.
The room was full and the debate was lively as Antoinette set-out her vision of what she thought was the best outcome for students in terms of Brexit. In particular she articulated the problems inherent with the current options being discussed, namely ‘Theresa May’s Deal’, ‘No Deal’, ‘Canada +/EFTA solution’ and a ‘People’s Vote’.
Antoinette suggested that pushing for an EFTA solution to the Brexit crisis would give the greatest benefits to students and cause the minimal amount of economic and political damage. This was in stark contrast to the other options on the table. All of the other types of Brexit would cause immense economic harm and a People’s Vote could have unfavourable political consequences.
EFTA she explained would preserve the majority of the economic benefits of the single market, which when allied to a customs union would mean no hard border on the Island of Ireland. EFTA has its own legal and economic structures in place; most members do not adopt the majority of EU law and have measures to deal with freedom of movement. EFTA would preserve the best of what the EU had to offer whilst honouring a narrow vote to leave.
After her speech Antoinette participated in a Q&A session, concerning the issues she had raised as well as Brexit in general. She answered questions ranging from trade and immigration to recent political developments. Some members of the audience even acknowledged the persuasiveness of the argument for EFTA and admitted that this is something they had not considered.
Author: Dr Stewart Tolley
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