EVENT REVIEW: Brexit – One Year On

GUEST REVIEW BY RORY WHITE-ANDREWS

On Friday 23 June 2017, exactly a year to the day after Britain’s monumental (and, some might argue, catastrophic) decision to vote to leave the European Union, Parliament Street assembled a group of distinguished academics to discuss the ramifications and consequences of Brexit in front of a packed lecture theatre in KCL’s Strand Campus.

The panel consisted of

Professor Derrick Wyatt QC (Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Oxford and Brick Court Chambers)

Dr Gurnek Bains (CEO, Global Future and author; “Cultural DNA: The Psychology of Globalization”)

Cllr. Dr. Peter Hill (Visiting Senior Lecturer in Political Economy, King College London and Conservative Councillors’ Association)

with Clare Ambrosino (Chairman, Parliament Street) expertly presiding over the event.

Before the meeting was opened up to the floor for questions, each of the speakers provided a brief opening statement outlining their position on Brexit, how they felt events had unfolded since the referendum and what the consequences of Brexit would be. After the opening statements, the panel then fielded questions from the eclectic and diverse members of audience, who included students, academics, professionals and politicians. Subjects covered included the status of EU nations, membership of the Single Market and Customs Union, the differences between a “hard” and “soft” Brexit and whether the referendum result could be reversed. Although the panel contained both Leave and Remain voters, there was an overwhelming consensus that the Brexit process would be considerably more difficult than many in the Leave campaign envisaged and that, on balance, a “soft” Brexit was increasingly likely. This skepticism was also echoed by the members of the audience, who also expressed their concerns about the viability of Brexit.

Ultimately the expert deliberations of the panel and a very engaged but balanced audience combined to deliver an insightful and thought provoking to the ongoing and vexed Brexit debate. Thanks must to Patrick Sullivan, Clare Ambrosino and the rest of the Parliament Street team for organising such an interesting and topical event.

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