Will Article 50 Day be remembered in history as a moment of triumph or of tragedy?

Divisions created by the referendum remain (Source: Getty)

Alex Deane, a Conservative commentator, says Triumph.

We voted to leave the European Union so that we can pass our own laws, control our own spending and decide for ourselves who comes to our country. Article 50 is a necessary tool in delivering on that return to sovereignty.

These are timeless principles one either prioritises (I do) or doesn’t. More practically and more urgently, the EU is the world’s slowest growing region and the Eurozone is heading for disaster; the further away we are from that the better.

So the referendum was a plain question of self-governance and national self-interest. These aren’t issues that should draw the wild hysteria shown by remoaners of late; nor do they require jubilation among those who advocated the path to national self-determination (no matter how tempting it might be given the gratuitous insults thrown at us of late).

It is a rational, positive decision that will bring a better future for our country. In that sensible, calm sense, it is most certainly a triumph.

Lincoln Hill, a communications adviser and commentator, says Tragedy.

I fear yesterday will mark a historical tragedy. Theresa May has misjudged and mistimed the process of Brexit. Her approach may have already foreclosed the possibility of Britain getting the best deal.

She has not taken the opportunity to build good will in Europe by unilaterally guaranteeing EU citizens’ rights, which has encouraged EU member states to toughen their stance. She will waste precious months waiting for the French and German elections to conclude. Most remarkably, she will proceed before the government has fully worked out the implications of leaving the Single Market, Customs Union, and European Court of Justice.

The government does plan to seek trade deals with the US, India, Australia and others. These countries will approach negotiations with no nostalgia whatsoever. They are solely interested in how open and competitive the British economy will be, and if Britain loses its ability to be a “gateway to Europe”, we will be treated far worse than our proud nation deserves.

City A.M.'s opinion pages are a place for thought-provoking views and debate. These views are not necessarily shared by City A.M.

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