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Matt Singh

Why Brexit Opponents Lost the Vote and the Argument

Opponents of Brexit had their chances to reverse the referendum and change the course of history. But they never had a compelling message.

Why they didn’t have a chance.

Why they didn’t have a chance.

Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg

Britain will leave the EU at 11 pm London time on Friday, following Boris Johnson’s victory at last month’s general election. Much has been written, including in this column, about the results of the election, and in particular how the Labour Party lost it so badly. But Brexit also means another postmortem — why did the efforts to stop it fall short?

There were effectively two routes by which Brexit could have been stopped — either for Parliament to legislate for a referendum with a “remain” option during last year’s standoff, or by electing a parliament that would do this. Neither succeeded.