Pro- and anti-Brexit campaigners call for unity in 2020

Open letter signed by leaders from all walks of society

Karim El-Bar   | 03.01.2020
Pro- and anti-Brexit campaigners call for unity in 2020


Public figures including the heads of the pro- and anti-Brexit campaigns released an open letter calling on the U.K. to unite and reconnect following a decade of division, local media reported.

The letter was released on New Year’s Day, and its chief signatories were Matthew Elliott and Will Straw, who led the pro-Brexit and anti-Brexit campaigns respectively in the 2016 referendum.

"As we start this new year and new decade, our country feels more fragmented than any of us would like. Too often we hear that our divisions – by class or geography, by politics, age, race or by faith – have come to define us,” it said. 

“If we are not happy with the state of our society, it falls to us all to do something about it. New Year is the time for resolutions and on this first day of the 2020s, we urge others to join us in making a resolution for the new decade.

“Our resolution is to reconnect. To reach out to just one person we don’t know, or from whom we have drifted apart. To start rebuilding connections between neighbours and fellow citizens."

It added: “Today is about a small first step that we can all take – to leave behind a decade of division and begin our decade of reconnection.”

The letter was signed by a host of other leading public figures, including Carolyn Fairbairn, head of the Confederation of British Industry; Tim Roache, head of the U.K.’s third largest union the GMB; Reverend Nick Baines, the Bishop of Leeds; and Imam Qari Asim, head of the Mosques and Imams National Advisory Board. The heads of the British Olympic and Paralympic associations as well as the head of the Glastonbury Festival also signed the letter.

The letter struck a similar chord to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s New Year’s Day message following the Dec. 12, 2019 general election, which he won by a landslide under the slogan ‘Get Brexit Done.’

“I am also acutely aware that there are millions of people who did not vote for me and were disappointed by the result,” Johnson said in his message.

“If you are one of them, I want to reassure you that I will be a prime minister for everyone, not just those who voted for me,” he said. “I know that you love this country no less, simply because you voted for another party or wanted to remain.”

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