David Miliband: Brexit Was Absolutely the Wrong Decision

By World Economic Forum from Cologny, Switzerland [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons

David Miliband, a former Labour leader contender, has renewed appeals for a public vote regarding the final Brexit deal, stating that leaving the European Union was “absolutely” the wrong decision to make.

His words were welcomed with a round of applause by the financial professionals that attended the Milken Institute’s London Summit, as he stated that any Brexit deal which does come to light should be one that leaves the United Kingdom “as close as possible” to the European Union.

Miliband stated: “Democracy can’t die on the 23 January 2016.” Miliband is now the president of the International Rescue Committee, a humanitarian aid non-governmental organisation. “The deal on the future needs a vote from the people.”

When queried whether a deal which parted the United Kingdom from the political structure of the European Union but preserved its current trading relationship would be acceptable even without another referendum, Miliband stated that it was “far from clear that this is on offer.” He added that there was “no such thing as a soft Brexit – just a slow Brexit.”

However, business leaders talking at a panel at the London Summit appeared to be less fascinated with the concept of another public vote.

“We have accepted the vote, and it’s now the time to execute on that,” stated Bruce Carnegie-Brown, the chief executive of Lloyd’s of London’s. The historic marketplace has instituted a subsidiary in Brussels since the Brexit vote in order to make sure that it retains access to the European Union – even though Carnegie-Brown accepted that this had added “friction” into the business.

According to the executive chairman of investment group Shore Capital, Howard Shore, businesses in the financial services industry cannot afford to depend on the probability of a second referendum, as regulators have already been harassing firms for every detail of their plans after Brexit.

The head of business membership body, Jasmine Whitbread, added that firms in London were absolutely not planning for a second referendum. However, the firms had not “ruled it out.”

The talk of Miliband regarding a vote on the final Brexit deal revives his calls for a second referendum this summer when he gave reluctant backing to chancellor Philip Hammond regarding his push for a transition period.