The European Parliamentary election was won emphatically by the Brexit party. It was a remarkable result, particularly given that the party itself had been formed only some six weeks previously.
There was a significant swing in support away from both the Conservatives and Labour. It does not take a psephologist to understand that this was due to frustration on the part of the electorate that Brexit had still not been delivered, almost three years after the 2016 referendum.
From my own conversations with constituents, I know that there is widespread exasperation that, despite having devolved the decision on the UK’s continued membership of the EU to the electorate, many Parliamentarians have seemed to be doing their utmost to frustrate Brexit.
Theresa May’s departure, the very day after the election, will, I hope, signal a change in the attitude of Members of Parliament. Mrs May, through her Withdrawal Agreement, had doggedly pursued a version of Brexit that I, for one, did not feel reflected what people had voted for in the referendum. It would have tied the United Kingdom to the EU customs union and single market rules, robbing it of its ability to forge its own trade policy. Worse still, the Irish backstop would have rendered Northern Ireland indefinitely a virtual colony of the EU. It was not Brexit, and that is why I voted against it on three occasions.
Mrs May promised the House of Commons 108 times that the UK would leave the EU by 29 March. When that date passed, and the can was kicked down the road to 31 October, electors’ patience finally snapped. The result was the Brexit party triumph last month.
The process to appoint Mrs May’s successor as leader of the Conservative party and Prime Minister begins next Monday. Conservative MPs will have to think very carefully when whittling the field down to the two candidates who will be put to the wider party.
I will personally expect a firm, unequivocal, pledge to deliver a proper Brexit no later than 31 October. And that, I believe, is what the country expects, too.