‘Something has got to give’ – Sheffield reacts as Brexit negotiations hit a standstill

The laws were written and a departure date set in stone as the United Kingdom was meant to leave the European Union tomorrow after almost three years of negotiations.

By Sam Cooper
Thursday, 28th March 2019, 1:21 pm
Updated Thursday, 28th March 2019, 1:24 pm
Coun Moya O'Rourke
Coun Moya O'Rourke

But instead Parliament – and with it the whole country – is at deadlock as MPs struggle to find a consensus on the next steps in the Brexit process.

The Commons failed to find a majority for a way forward after voting for eight different options on Wednesday and the Government intends to stage a third meaningful vote on its EU Withdrawal Agreement on Friday. 

Coun Moya O'Rourke

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And one Sheffield councillor said the chaos was damaging the reputation of politicians on all sides of the Brexit argument and of all colours.

Labour’s Coun Moya O’Rourke, of East Ecclesfield, said: “I think the most frustrating thing for people on all sides is that we are at a standstill.

“Something has got to give and what’s happened is pushing me towards the view that there might be a general election.

Theresa May leaves the Houses of Parliament in Westminster on March 27. Picture: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images.

“I think if the Tories were smart they wouldn’t have they wouldn’t have one but at some point you have got to listen to the electorate.”

While some senior Brexiteers have moved towards supporting Theresa May's deal, the MPs she relies on in the DUP have refused to alter their stance.

The PM won some support by saying she would resign ahead of the next round of EU negotiations if her deal passes.

Prime Minister Theresa May speaks during Prime Minister's Questions in the House of Commons, London. Picture: House of Commons/PA Wire

Coun O’Rourke said: “It's been more than 1,000 days [since the referendum] and it’s been 1,000 days of absolute mess and it’s almost as if it's taken that long to think we should do something about it.

“From a personal point of view, I am angry and I am frustrated. We have been failed completely.”

Matt Dixon, who served as a Conservative councillor in Sheffield, described the situation as ‘crazy’.

He said: “My view is that we need to go back to the start. We either leave with no deal or revoke Article 50 because I don’t think any of the compromises or amendments will get a majority.

“I voted leave for quite a few different reasons but I would prefer to leave with something in place, rather than no deal but I don’t see how any of the deals are every going to get through.”

Mr Dixon said he was concerned Brexit had diverted attention from other areas of the government’s work.

He added: “I have been a member of a political party before but I would struggle now to know who to vote for because both parties have completely completely mismanaged the situation and failed to show any leadership. It’s just crazy.”