By Guillaume Gougeon
The guest speaker for this year’s Hadyn Ellis Distinguished Lecture was the Rt. Hon. Lord Michael Heseltine, who spoke in the Julian Hodge Building on the evening of Wednesday 28th November.
Lord Heseltine served as a Conservative MP for over 30 years. He occupied various Cabinet positions throughout the 1980s and 1990s but having moved on, he now sits as a peer in the House of Lords and has done so since 2001.
Lord Heseltine is known not only for his service to politics but his pro-European stance which saw him try to topple the then PM Margaret Thatcher for the leadership of the Conservative Party. Ultimately, he failed in doing so but throughout the years has remained a prominent and vocal politician.
However, the lecture Lord Heseltine came to deliver was not based on his political past but indeed his thoughts over the ongoing political crisis of the day…Brexit. The event was well attended with people from different ages and backgrounds present.
He opened the lecture by describing Brexit as the most controversial issue of his lifetime. He surmised that never before had the UK faced such a momentous journey as it prepares to leave the European Union in March 2019.
He was widely critical of the Prime Minister, Theresa May, and her proposed Brexit plan comparing it to a deal built of straw and with no clay. In his view, Parliament should vote down the deal.
He argued that the British people were deceived about the consequences of leaving the European Union and went on to say claim the younger generation feel betrayed by an older generation who will not be around to live with the consequences.
While closing his speech, Lord Heseltine stated that the best outcome for the near future would be to put the decision back to the British people by having a referendum on the terms of the deal, in which remaining inside the European Union should be an option, receiving cheers from the crowd as support.