On Tuesday July 23rd a panel organised by ‘Common Vision’ assembled in Westminster. Common Vision are a political think tank who focus on millennials working towards the common good to achieve a brighter future. At this particular event, the panel were to discuss ‘How will the Chequers plan affect millennials?’

In a recently published report, Common Vision coordinated research on what millennials want from Brexit now that we must accept that it is happening. In brief, the report found young people to be well clued-up on the current situation with Britain leaving the EU, their main concerns stemming from what the implications might be for freedom of movement and the strength of the economy.

As a member of the audience I was rather privileged to listen to what Mr Hilary Benn MP, who chairs the select committee for leaving the EU, could contribute to answering this complex question. As a supporter of the Remain campaign back in 2016, Mr Benn was clear in his reservations about Brexit. However, what was also made clear was that the decision has been made and that, this being a democracy, it must be accepted. An interesting takeaway from Hilary Benn’s contributions was his mention of a ‘contested space’. Obviously the decision over Brexit was put to and answered by the people who voted. However, when that vote was cast, we then handed the baton over to the Government to decide what Brexit should actually mean. Hence, no one should ever have expected the matter to be dealt with over night, it was always going to take time.

Anna Barker who chairs the British Youth Council was also present on the committee. She gave a refreshingly positive account of the involvement of Britain’s youth in politics, repressing the more patronising remarks that the involvement of young people is limited to a few tweets expressing discontent with the system. Miss Barker disclosed that she has found that one key thing young people are anxious about is the legitimisation of hate that has been a consequence of the Brexit vote, acknowledging a 29 per cent rise in reported hate crimes since the referendum.

During the event there was a discussion of migrant workers and the notion of Eastern Europeans ‘stealing jobs’ from construction workers. In all honesty this was rather, as Anna Barker actually determined, an ‘embarrassing’ debate. Her input was that the Brexiteers who believe migrant workers are stealing jobs are living in an ‘empire state of mind’ where Britain harbours a great manufacturing industry. Our concern shouldn’t be about keeping a wholly British manufacturing workforce, it should be about training people so that they can work in the service industry which dominates our economy and thus generates higher paying positions.

Deal or no deal?

The main consensus amongst the panel was that the Prime Minister must arrive at a deal. Perhaps not the most eloquent of phrasing, but as Hilary Benn put it:

‘there is no deal worse than no deal’.

One of the most interesting contributions of the evening arguably came from Andrew Eaton, from the international law firm Hogan Lovells. He dismissed ‘soft Brexit’ as a temporary solution. Businessmen and young people perhaps have more in common over Brexit than anyone, both groups being majority supporters of the Remain campaign in 2016. Andrew Eaton falls into this category. He discussed that if people voted for Brexit to ‘take back control’ then a soft Brexit is far from answering the demands of the democratic vote.

If we are to make the most of a decision that 48 per cent of voters disagreed with, then it should not be a half-hearted effort. As aforementioned, it is up to the Government to decide what Brexit means and for Theresa May to get this country the best deal she can.

The Chequers plan is not delivering on what was backed by Leave voters and is certainly not sufficient to address the demands of the millennial generation. Young people should be at the forefront of the Brexit debate and a priority in the minds of our representatives to Parliament.

If Mrs May is to reach a deal, it needs to acknowledge concerns about how the economy will prosper and how freedom of movement will exist in terms of working and studying abroad. These are the questions millennials have and our Prime Minister should have the answers.

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