Joe Fortune General Secretary 10th December 2020 Blog Europe International Development & Affairs Share Tweet As we stand on the edge of crashing out of the EU without a deal, it is hard to understand how we’ve been brought to the brink of such a disaster. For co-operators, the consequences of a no-deal Brexit have long been apparent. In the aftermath of the 2016 referendum, we took a Brexit policy document to our members and it culminated in a debate and vote on the policy at our conference in Bristol in 2018. In the spirit of our internationalist tradition, members of the Co-operative Party ultimately voted overwhelming in favour of continuing a close relationship with the EU and putting any deal to a public vote. This was driven by an enormous dread and fear of the consequences of a no-deal Brexit. It was front and centre of the debate and in the heart of the resulting document that there must not be a no-deal Brexit. Between 2018 and today, we have been told that the deal was within easy reach and it was just a matter of ‘popping it in the oven’. As you would expect, the Party has stayed in close touch with co-operatives across the country regarding Brexit. They have always been clear about the challenges and repercussions a no-deal Brexit will have. In recent months, we in the movement have discussed what the implications of a deal will mean for trading, anticipating the Government would find a way to a deal. Instead, we’re facing the outcome we so dreaded in 2018. Whilst I know that our sister Party will rightly continue to wait for details of a deal to understand how it should respond, the message from the Co-operative Party hasn’t changed since that day in Bristol in 2018: no-deal will be devastating for our country. I know this is a call that is shared by many, and we can only hope it is heard by those leading us to the precipice.