Monday 16 December 2019 5:22 am

DEBATE: Will the next election be about something other than Brexit?

John Oxley is a Conservative commentator
Ben Loewenstein
Ben Loewenstein is a political consultant.

Will the next election be about something other than Brexit?

John Oxley, a Conservative commentator, says YES.

The Conservatives fought this election to effect Brexit. With a majority as strong as this, they will achieve that next month and not fight an election for five years — unless they sense victory in an earlier poll.

When that vote does come, we will have been out of the EU for years. There will be no politically credible way of reversing that. Unless the Tories somehow fail to get Brexit done, the country will have moved on.

The voters who go to the polls next time round will have everything else on their mind.

They will think about whether the Conservatives delivered the police, nurses, and hospitals that they promised. They will consider who they feel has made them and their families better off, and who will be the best guardian of public services.

Of course, these thoughts cannot be wholly disentangled from our decision to leave the EU. The transition will affect many areas of life.

But we can at least look forward to the post-Brexit election.

Ben Loewenstein, a political consultant, says NO.

Simply put, Brexit is now the cockroach of British politics.

We may be sick of talking about it, but Brexit was a major reason why voters invited the Tories behind Labour’s so-called red wall to listen to what they had to say.

Whether Brexit goes boom or bust, in five years’ time those voters will still be Brexiteers. So imagine, if you are Boris Johnson and your opponent’s supporters actually agree with you on the most prominent and polarising question of a generation. Why would you change the subject?

Brexit is also embedded in just about every major challenge that we as a nation are likely to face.

Come the next General Election (presumably in 2024), we will still be negotiating trade deals, the NHS will still receive less than the £350m per week extra that the bus promised, and the economic climate we are in will have been shaped by the political decisions made when unshackling ourselves from all those nasty EU laws.

Main image credit: Getty

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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