Brexit reflections from Rupert Matthews

Brexit reflections from Rupert Matthews

Here is the latest in our series reflecting on the Brexit process with regular BrexitCentral authors and others who have played an important role in our journey out of the European Union. Here are the answers to our questions from former Conservative MEP Rupert Matthews.

BC: When did you first come to the view that the UK would be better off out of the EU? Did you ever think that the EU could be reformed from within to make membership tolerable for the UK? Tell us how your views developed over time on the issue.

It must have been around 2010, I think, when David Cameron ratted on his promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty. The way the European Constitution was repackaged as a treaty convinced me that the EU would not reform itself, and the broken promise told me that UK politicians would not go for broke to try to get a good deal for the UK inside the EU.

BC: What was your most memorable moment during the referendum campaign?

My visit to Penzance to meet with fishermen.

BC: Who was the most unlikely ally you campaigned with or shared a platform with during the referendum? Did you strike up any unexpected new friendships across traditional political divides?

A firm Labour type in Nottingham (who will remain nameless to spare blushes).

BC: Where were you on referendum night? How did it feel?

At the count in Epsom until the Sunderland result came in, and after that with my wife watching the results come in on TV. In retrospect I should have stayed at the count to watch the smug Remainers from the Lib Dem party who had been parading around like winners.

BC: Did you think then that it would take as long as it has for Brexit to actually happen?


BC: Were there any moments in these last few years since the referendum when you thought the prize could yet be snatched from us?

No, although there were times when I thought we would have to fight another referendum and feared for the consequences of that.

BC: Do you think the British electoral landscape will return to type once Brexit has been delivered? Or will Brexit have caused a lasting change to the political map of Britain?

Nothing will ever be the same again. If the Remainers had accepted the result, it may well have gone back to business as usual. But not now.

BC: What changes do you want/hope to see made now that the UK has taken back control? Can you summarise your vision for Brexit Britain?

Small government, more democracy.

BC: Do you have any special plans for 1st February, our first day outside the EU?

No, but am open to suggestions.