The Brexit deal – third time lucky?


Sir, – So Theresa May believes that a second referendum would undermine public confidence in the political system?

Oh dear, surely the pantomime in the mother of parliaments, which the public have been watching for months, has already done that.

That aside, we all make mistakes. Sometimes it is possible to correct them, sometimes not. If we suspect that a mistake may have been made the mature thing to do is to reconsider the issue with the wisdom of hindsight and, if a mistake has been made, to correct it.

In the case of Brexit the only way to correct it would be by a second referendum. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Judging by her speech outside 10 Downing Street on Wednesday, Theresa May seems intent on putting the same Brexit withdrawal agreement before the House of Commons next week.

I have watched, with interest, multiple reactions from the political pundits about the wisdom, or otherwise, of such an approach.

Yet Mr Speaker has ruled against her coming back with anything other than a “substantially altered” motion. Is she playing “chicken” with John Bercow, as well as everybody else? – Yours, etc,



Sir, – The EU should give Britain only a two-month extension. That would be the end of May. – Yours, etc,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – This week our local newspaper, the Maidenhead Advertiser, has run a full-page advertisement addressed to our local MP, Theresa May, and calling on her not to risk peace in Northern Ireland.

I wonder whether the same organisation has also placed advertisements in the Irish press with a similar message for Leo Varadkar.

In an effort to protect the economy of the Republic the Irish Government has been running a high-risk strategy, using the largely invented problem of the land Border as a ruse to try to force the UK to stay under the economic thumb of the EU.

While for her part Theresa May has been content to use that ruse as a pretext for going back on her previous promises in order to placate vociferous business lobby groups led by the Confederation of British Industry, but inevitably arousing opposition within her own party by doing so.

In November 2017 the Irish European Commissioner Phil Hogan publicly demanded that the UK must stay in the EU customs union and single market, and warned that Ireland would “play tough to the end” over the Border issue.

Well, that end is now nigh, and we shall see over the next week how that hardball strategy has worked out. – Yours, etc,




United Kingdom.

Sir, – What I cannot understand is how Theresa May can lose votes in the House of Commons by massive margins and keeps proposing the same deal, while the referendum, which offered the choice of staying in Europe or leaving for an undefined future, and which was decided by a margin of a couple of percentage points, cannot be re-run.

People outside of England (and remember that Northern Ireland and Scotland voted to remain) cannot comprehend how an entire country could take leave of its senses.

In years to come, this may be recalled as a classic case of mass hysteria to rank with the South Sea Bubble of 1720, or the Tulip Mania of 1637. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – A letter writer opines that we should not turn our back on Britain or gloat about its present difficulties (Letters, March 21st).

Surely it is not necessary to point out it is Britain that is turning its back on Europe. Far from gloating, we watch in horror here in Ireland as some in Britain seem hell bent on scuttling their country. – Yours, etc,




Co Wicklow.

Sir, – The House of Commons represents the British people. The people voted by 52 per cent to 48 per cent to leave the EU, which is a slim majority!

Why then are we surprised at the apparent impasse in the Commons at present, especially as political games are being played by so many factions inside and outside the governing party.

Perhaps more than a simple majority should be required in future referendums. – Yours, etc,


Spanish Point,

Co Clare.

Sir, – Listening to Mrs May’s principled opposition to holding a second referendum when she declares in her televised address on March 20th: “We asked you the question already and you gave us your answer”, does it not seem ironic that she has no such principled opposition to putting her withdrawal agreement for repeated votes by MPs in parliament until she gets the answer she wants?

It seems she already accepts the underlying premise that people can change their minds when their view of the facts change. – Yours, etc,



Sir, – Historians generally fall into two schools: the conspiracy theorists who believe there’s an underlying plot behind everything; and the cock-up theorists, who think that historical events are merely the result of accident and happenchance.

Brexit shows it’s possible for both to be true at the same time. – Yours, etc,