Next week the House of Commons will take what is probably the most consequential vote of our era. Unless the government again gets cold feet, key aspects of this country’s economic model, social cohesion and international future will be shaped in the so-called “meaningful vote” over Theresa May’s Brexit deal. It will define what Britain is more than any other political event in modern times. It poses questions and choices that cannot be shirked.
This newspaper supported Britain’s entry into the European Community in the 1970s. We opposed Britain’s departure from the European Union in 2016. We took these positions on the basis of the same long-term principles. Britain is a European nation by virtue of its geography and history. It shares enduring economic and cultural ties and values with the rest of Europe. Above all, Britain has a direct interest, born from the suffering of our peoples in decades of war, in the peace and harmony of Europe from which all can prosper. In the era of Donald Trump and Xi Jinping, Britain’s engagement in Europe is freshly urgent.