MPs may have voted notionally to take “no deal” off the table, but upheaval is far from over.
We know that Brexit is going to create winners and losers. It already has. As the managing director of an international VAT consultancy and compliance firm, we’ve arguably benefited from Brexit to some degree; but short-term gains can’t compensate for a situation which threatens the ability of businesses to trade confidently overseas.
Over half our employees are non-British EU nationals. The British government’s attitude to this sector of our population has been outrageous. It’s completely unacceptable to have treated them as “tradeable”, or leverage for a deal. I find myself compelled to advocate on their behalf. What happens in the coming days could affect the future of my team, as well as this business. It’s imperative that any position agreed by parliament fully respects the rights and dignity of EU nationals in the UK. There is very limited time to achieve this. If this doesn’t happen, members of my team and I will be marching in support of a people’s vote on 23 March.
We talk a lot about compassionate and purpose-driven business these days. A compassionate business puts its people first. A purpose-driven business puts its head above the parapet for what it feels to be right. It’s not comfortable for businesses to take political positions, but, in this case, I believe it needs to be done.
A second referendum may become the only way out of this impasse, and the best way to protect EU nationals that have come to the UK in good faith, and who are so vital to our workforce and our nation.