This is the speech I would have liked our Prime Minister to have made six months after the Brexit referendum vote:
“As you know I have for the last 12 weeks travelled up and down the United Kingdom. I have been to schools and colleges, spoken to faith groups and entrepreneurs. I have been to Northern Ireland and spoken to members of the Scottish Parliament and the Welsh Assembly. I have spoken with fishermen, farmers and nurses. I have spoken to artists, poets, social workers, drivers, and chief executives.
I have listened.
To the 48% I say this – We (for I include myself) must accept that the vote was lost. We will leave the institutions of the EU.
To the 52% I say this – the vote to leave those institutions is decisive and we will leave them.
To everyone I say that no-one voted to be poorer, weaker, or to have fewer opportunities to thrive. My government will do its best to ensure that this view is held close in all that we do.
There is a risk that Brexit can become a divisive and destructive process. We must not let this happen. We must come together and see hope and opportunity in the future we will now build together. No one section of our country however strongly they hold their opinions, must be allowed to dominate. We are a society that must show the world the very best our country can offer to all our citizens, to all our visitors, to our friends and indeed to all those who do not wish us so well.
This is why today I want to announce that in these uniquely complex, difficult and fundamentally important times we will find a new way of working.
I reach out today to all parliamentarians and say let us together represent every town, region and country of the United Kingdom and find the right path.
There will be a cross-party commission to oversee the development of our strategy.
Brexit is not just an economic or a political decision, so in addition we will have workstreams to engage the young, civil society, charities, the arts, education, infrastructure, defence, agriculture and fisheries, health care, security and business.
Each workstream will have two purposes:
- What can we create with the EU and others that is better than we have today
- For things which might be harder, how can we manage those risks better too.
Each workstream will have open meetings around the UK and will report back in 12 months’ time.
When we have their reports and we can see a future that we all can support I will invite the 27 countries of the EU to a meeting here.
I will take them to meet our people and invite the EU to work with us to build a new model of collaboration that respects our vote, but which does not diminish the needs we all share to look after each other and protect the peace our grandparents fought for and the economic and cultural prosperity we want our children to inherit from us.
At the end of the this meeting we will together ceremonially trigger Article 50 as a celebration of a new way of working together, a new vision of hope for our future and a with the promise to use the next two years to bring the vision into reality.”