“No deal, no problem” was the message to a packed hall at the launch of the Leave Means Leave campaign in the Northern Brexit heartland of Bolton. 1,500 enthusiastic Brexiteers turned up to hear local Conservative MP Chris Green, Ex-UKIP leader Nigel Farage, former Brexit Secretary David Davis and Labour Brexit campaigner Kate Hoey call for a real Brexit.
Nigel Farage said Leavers had worked hard for a yes vote but made the mistake of saying “Job done’ when we won. This had given the political and business establishment the space to organise to thwart the result, but the message from now was “We’re back!” and that far from being a cliff edge, Britain would prosper without a deal.
Nothing to fear
David Davis agreed, saying, “We have nothing to fear and that is the reason why we should only accept a clean and clear Brexit, not some fudge.”
Kate Hoey referred to the vision of earlier Brexiteers Barbara Castle, Tony Benn and Peter Shore in warning of what the Common Market would become and appealed for an end to talk of “cliff edge” and “crashing out”.
“We didn’t vote for deals. We voted for control.”
Nigel Farage prompted many standing ovations with appeals to “Believe in Britain” and rejection of the idea we didn’t know what we were voting for. “We didn’t vote for deals, we voted for control. We stood up and voted for independence.”
He said they thought we would vote and then lose interest, they could betray the result and we wouldn’t notice. They were wrong, he said: “This is the rebirth of the People’s Army.”
David Davis paid tribute to Kate Hoey’s bravery in standing isolated against a hostile, pro-EU Labour Party while for him as a Conservative MP life is much easier with about 100 supporting MPs. He said 23 June was the greatest democratic exercise in the nation’s history.
“What have we got to fear?” he asked. We should only accept a clean and clear Brexit. Britain is a world leader in artificial intelligence, biotech, life sciences and many other fields. The Common Rule Book would hand over control of these industries to our competitors. Intolerable. No deal IS better than a bad deal.
In the Q&A session all the speakers insisted that free movement must end and that EU citizens must be treated in the same way as citizens of any other country. Chris Green condemned talk of a second referendum as a deliberate obstruction strategy aimed at destabilising business and investment and increasing unemployment so we’ll seek refuge back in the EU. “It ain’t going to happen,” he said.
Chairman John Longworth, former director-general of the British Chambers of Commerce, sent the audience away with an appeal to join The People’s Army.