Ross Gazette Column: Jesse’s thoughts after the EU Referendum

Whether you voted In or Out, June 23rd was a landmark in British politics. The Referendum decision to leave the EU was a clear one, which confounded the Government, pollsters, focus groups and betting markets alike. That was the verdict of 17.5 million voters, the largest single mandate in British history.

Voter turnout in Herefordshire was very high at 78.3%.  This seems to me to reflect the county's social cohesion and sense of duty, as well as the extensive public debate we have had over the past few months.

I hope that all the work I did to inform and educate voters played some part in this.

So, what happens next?

It has been suggested that the vote doesn't count, that there should be a second referendum, or that Parliament should vote down any Brexit legislation.  But the view from Westminster is simple: the British people have made a decision; and it is now for Parliament to implement it.

The Prime Minister was absolutely right not to trigger Article 50, which would immediately start a withdrawal process, straight away.

What we need now is a pause and careful preparation.  That means engagement with EU officials and national leaders, reshaping of government and careful planning.

More widely, there is a clear need to pull together and ensure that Brexit works for the good of the country as a whole.  It was always clear that there would be a short-term economic shock.  But there can also be longer term benefits and opportunities.

Many people, it is clear, are despondent at the result, but it is essential that both sides now treat each other decently and with respect.

Finally, I must say that I respect David Cameron's decision to step down in October, and pay tribute to his very good and effective leadership of the Conservative party over the past eleven years.