Event / Emmanuel Centre, London

Britain in the Balance by Intelligence Squared w/ Hilary Benn, Kenneth Clarke, Reni Eddo-Lodge and David Goodhart

13 Sep 2017 – 19:00

So now what? It’s barely a year since we voted to leave the EU and the UK is once again in uncharted territory after a general election result that confounded almost all predictions. To try to understand this historic political realignment and where we are headed next, Intelligence Squared is bringing together a star panel of politicians, commentators and experts.

Theresa May called the election with the aim of increasing her majority to see through a hard Brexit. But the hung parliament that resulted has left her in the eyes of many a lame duck prime minister. Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn hauled in millions of young voters with his generous spending promises and anti-establishment rhetoric. Just as with the Brexit vote, the mainstream political class didn’t see this coming. How is it that once again they were completely out of touch with public feeling?

Britain’s traditional class politics has been upended. Struggling blue-collar workers in deprived Brexit-voting areas swung to the Tories. Educated younger professionals backed Labour. How should we understand this shift? Is it Remainers’ revenge against May’s hard Brexit stance, or are we witnessing a permanent reconfiguration of British politics?

And what does all this mean for Britain’s exit from the EU? Now that there is a parliamentary majority for a soft Brexit, some senior Conservatives are plotting to water down May’s plans for a clean break. How will this play out with their hard-line Eurosceptic colleagues? And in any case, is the deal ours for the choosing? Will the EU now exploit the Tories’ parliamentary weakness and make the negotiations even more of a headache? Or will greater scrutiny from a newly emboldened parliament lead to a better deal?

Come to the Emmanuel Centre on 13 September as our panel discusses the new political realities. Have the chance to ask your questions and join the debate.

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