What 5 top Remainers say about Brexit 3 years on

Michel Barnier speaks on third anniversary on Brexit

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January 31 marked three years since the UK officially withdrew from the European Union (EU) after the country voted 52 to 48 per cent to leave the bloc. A new poll has found that only in Boston and Skegness do voters believe Britain was not wrong to leave. Former Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said Leave voters had every right to be frustrated at the Conservative Party’s handling of Brexit, arguing that they had made a “terrible mess of it”. However, the anniversary saw some Leave supporters reflect positively with Boris Johnson making calls to “shrug off all this negativity and gloom-mongering”, and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak claiming that the country had made “huge strides”. But where do the Remainers stand now? Here, Express.co.uk looks at what prominent supporters feel three years on.

Guy Verhofstadt

The Belgian, who described Brexit as a “con” in The Independent in December, has been vocal against Britain’s exit from the European Union from the very beginning. Just this week, he caused a stir by suggesting that the departure led to the war in Ukraine.

The former EU chief negotiator told LBC on the anniversary: “This war, this brutal invasion, has started with [Vladimir] Putin and Russia. It has nothing to do with the extension of Nato, or the European Union, it’s really an attempt by Putin to restore the old Soviet Union.

“The only difference is the Communist party is replaced by his cronies. A united Europe, certainly on defence matters, would make an enormous difference.

“I think maybe without Brexit there would be no invasion. I don’t know, but I think he would see a far stronger and united Europe on the other side.”

He added: “Let’s hope that Britain can rejoin and let’s hope that Ukraine can join and why not within five years?”

However, the comments were shut down by Downing Street with Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s official spokesperson dismissing it as nonsense, saying Putin’s illegal invasion had “nothing to do with Brexit”.

Gina Miller

“Arch Remainer” Gina Miller still believes that leaving the EU was not right for the countries’ children and grandchildren, but said that re-joining the bloc is now a “no-go” as member states now “mistrust” us.

In an opinion piece for Express.co.uk on February 2, the leader of the True and Fair Party said the Conservative Prime Ministers are to blame for the “pandering to [the] Brexit extremeist fringe” with neither Remainers, nor the 52 percent who opted to leave, voting for the “mess we find ourselves in today”.

She said: “The dreadful consequences include the undermining of the Good Friday Agreement, UK musicians not being able to tour Europe, farmers on the brink of bankruptcy, a lack of fruit pickers and critical staff shortages in the NHS.”

However, she said the problems we face can be reconciled by politicians acting with more honesty and bravery as opposed to “blind fury”.

Guy Hands

The private equity firm Terra Firma chairman called for Britain to remain in the EU in 2016. But after the choice was made he said the UK needed to accept “hard Brexit and get on with it”.

However, speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on January 31, he slammed the Leave campaign as being full of “total lies”, including the bus that was plastered with the promise that £350million would go to the NHS. Mr Hands added that former Prime Minister Boris Johnson “threw the NHS and the public under the bus”.

Tony Danker

Confederation of British Industry boss Tony Danker also supported remaining during the referendum but said it was now time for the two sides to work together.

Speaking at the BBC Today Programme’s Brexit debate on January 31, during which anti-Brexit protestor Steve Bray was thrown out for shouting at Jacob Rees-Mogg, Mr Danker said both those who voted remain and leave have been proven right in the fallout.

The 51-year-old said: “The Leavers said they wanted to take back control of our laws, our borders and our money and we have. And the Remainers said there would be an economic cost, and there has been. So I think it’s played out right. I dont think Brexit was an economic vote, it was a vote for sovereignty.”

While he said that Brexit has been “bad” for the economy, he said he does not feel this has to be the case “perenially” with the Government now having the opportunity to develop a “bold, ambitious, cavalier and flareful” growth strategy. He added that most people now want Brexit to work and to “move on”.

He continued: “The guidance today should be the following: don’t try and make Brexit a success but make Britain a success. That’s for Remainers and Leavers to do together… Put Britain first not Brexit first and… we will definitely have Brexit last forever because it will be a project for the whole country, not just one section of it.”

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Andrew Adonis 

Lord Andrew Adonis was until recently the chairman of the main movement pushing for Britain to rejoin the EU.

But he was not quite as positive when it came to the state of Brexit and its future, describing it as being in “intensive care”, with the situation being almost impossible to make worse.

Writing for Prospect—The Insider on February 2, Baron Adonis said: “Economically the Brexit ‘hit’ has been large and palpable: not just the big headline figures for loss of trade, investment and national income, but a dramatic collapse of the UK’s motor manufacturing industry in barely three years, with the abject failure even to get a new UK-owned battery manufacturing plant established for electric vehicles (Germany has three).”

Sooner or later, he said, whether under Mr Sunak or Sir Keir Starmer, entry into the customs union and single market is “inevitable”.

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