What happens once we get the referendum result? MPs offer their…
A Brexit result tomorrow could see David Cameron ousted and a new trade deal in place by the end of 2017, according to a Devon MP– but this would come at a heavy price for the economy.
Or it could free the Prime Minister to negotiate a favourable exit package for Britain, while the Conservative Party picks itself up and gets on with governing.
With roughly 12 hours to go before we receive the first results, w e’ve asked local MPs to offer up their predictions of what tomorrow’s referendum result will bring:
A Vote for Brexit
MPs on both sides of the referendum debate have accepted a vote to leave the EU will trigger some degree of economic instability. Where they disagree is over how long the repercussions of such a result will last.
Vote Leave supporters like St Ives MP Derek Thomas believe Brexit will ultimately create “wonderful” opportunities, both economically and politically.
But remain supporter and South West Devon MP Gary Streeter claims a vote to leave the EU will send the economy into “decline”.
He said that based on market reaction in recent days, Brexit will see the pound “plummet”.
“Then, bit by bit, the uncertainty as to what the trading arrangements with our former partners will be… will eat away at our economy,” he said.
He also warned of an immediate leadership contest, suggesting new trade negotiations could get under way – with a new leader – by the start of 2017.
But Mr Thomas disagrees, stating that he is unaware of any MP who wants to see Mr Cameron go. “He is the best leader for [our] social mobility agenda,” he said.
“And the beauty about having a Prime Minister who isn’t standing for election again means he’s got three years to get on with [negotiations].
“There’s a danger in modern politics that we worry constantly about the next election… [but] David Cameron has an opportunity to grasp the nettle.”
In terms of the technical details, Lord Tyler, former North Cornwall MP and Lib Dem constitutional spokesman, says there will be no immediate constitutional or legal consequences in the first few day following the referendum.
The Prime Minister will have to choose when to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, before beginning negotiations over withdrawal terms, trade arrangements with the EU, and membership conditions with the World Trade Organisation.
A Vote to Remain
There is a general consensus among MPs that if the UK votes for remain, it will largely mean business as usual.
Both Mr Thomas and Mr Streeter are optimistic their party will come back together, following weeks of divisive campaigning.
And bar “a couple of dozen” troublemakers, they hope tomorrow’s result will put the EU question to bed – at least for the time being.
“What I signed up to, and what David Cameron was clear about was a referendum on our membership, and we have got that,” said Mr Thomas.
“The beautiful thing about British democracy is that people vote, there’s a result, and we have to get on and work with it.”
Mr Streeter adds: “There will be a couple of dozen people who wont be able to accept [the result], but there’s always an awkward squad in any Parliament.
“[But] most of us in Westminster are planning on giving people on the other side of the argument a big hug, and get on with running the country.”
However, Exeter MP and Stronger In campaigner Ben Bradshaw has concerns about the impact of a low turn out. Combined with a close result, he says this would be the “worst possible outcome”.
He also criticised Ukip leader Nigel Farage for stating that he will not accept a remain vote.
“We live in a democracy, this is a referendum, and the people decide, he said.