Previous posts offering guides to elections in the Netherlands and France aimed to inform voters of eurosceptic options, and to underscore the diversity of euroscepticism. The upcoming election in the UK is very different, as are the stakes.
Having voted to leave the EU last June, the people of Britain have already made clear that they want their future to belong to them. In this regard they are several steps ahead of other member states. Now, the country must ensure that Brexit is timely, true to voters, and successful.
Indeed, it took the British government until March 29 to notify Brussels of its departure in two years’ time. This delay was partly due to attempts to slow or halt Brexit by various figures. These efforts are far from spent, and may yet jeopardize the government’s efforts to carry out the will of referendum voters.
This June’s snap election presents an opportunity for Britons to ensure the referendum result is adhered to. However, it also presents the threat of undermining it. As such, it is important to clearly identify where parties stand on Brexit.
Although many parties claim they will respect the result of last year’s referendum on EU membership, only two are unambiguously in favour of full departure from the bloc. Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives and the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) have both made clear that Brexit means departure from all EU institutions, including the single market, with the intention of striking a bilateral free trade deal.
On the other end of the spectrum, the Liberal Democrats and the Green Party remain staunchly opposed to Brexit, favouring a second referendum on the deal resulting from negotiations with Brussels. The Social Democratic and Labour Party and Sinn Fein of Northern Ireland also oppose Brexit.
Between the two groups above is a range of parties ready to accept the referendum result to varying degrees, but with caveats. Most notably, Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party is not calling for a second referendum, but wants parliamentary involvement in negotiations with the EU. They also laid out six conditions the resulting deal should meet, including single-market access.
The Scottish National Party also intends to respect the referendum result, but wishes for Scotland to retain its place in the single market. Similar calls for single-market access have been made by Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party and Wales’ Plaid Cymru.