Maajid Nawaz: Brexit debate may be more civilised after coronavirus

17 May 2020, 15:46

By Seán Hickey

Coronavirus may have relegated the Brexit debate to a place where a civilised debate on how the UK leaves the EU may now be possible.

Maajid Nawaz was speaking on the back of news that government ministers have moved coronavirus teams to plan for a no-deal Brexit and felt that the news has come at a poignant time.

He argued that it is possible now that coronavirus has swept the nation that people on both sides of the Brexit divide may entertain the opinions of the other side and this could lead to the UK leaving the EU in a way that pleases the whole of the public.

"Has your commitment to whatever you want to see happen in regard to Brexit been put into context" Maajid asked. It was evident that his own opinions had softened on the debate through his jovial approach to the process. It seemed that the Brexit news was a refreshing break from the coronavirus crisis.

"I divide debates into political and civilisational" Maajid began, listing some civilisational debates that he argues are yes or no answers. He pointed out that in a civilisational debate, opinions and viewpoints cannot be changed.

"Brexit has always been a political debate" he said, suggesting that the subject has thawed to the point that a dialogue can now happen.

Maajid argued the Brexit debate could become more civil after coronavirus
Maajid argued the Brexit debate could become more civil after coronavirus. Picture: PA

"To be able to disagree in a civil manner, Brexit comes into that bracket" he said. Jokingly Maajid added that before, during and after the Brexit vote there was no civility in the debate and although in theory we should be able to disagree in a civilised manner on Brexit "our country didn't live up to that."

Maajid argued that now coronavirus has relatively levelled and unified the UK in terms of politics there may be an opening for a conversation to develop.

"Maybe coronavirus has now relegated Brexit in your mind to the point that you're now able to have a more civil conversation about it" he suggested.

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