Motion for new Brexit bank holiday clears first hurdle

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A move to introduce a new bank holiday to celebrate Brexit is one step closer to becoming reality after it cleared its first hurdle in the House of Commons.

Conservative backbencher Peter Bone introduced the motion today, calling for a “United Kingdom Day” to be held on the Friday nearest to June 23 – the anniversary of the 2016 EU referendum.

The Brexiteer said the proposed bank holiday could also celebrate the Queen’s official birthday and coronation anniversary, which both also fall in June.

He also told MPs it would boost workers’ productivity by providing an extra day off during the “long gap” between the late May and late August bank holiday’s in England, Scotland and Wales.

Introducing his June Bank Holiday (Creation) Bill, Mr Bone said Boris Johnson’s government had been “quite sniffy” about his proposals.

He added: “This has rather surprised and disappointed me. I can understand the former government having reservations, as they always saw the UK leaving the EU as a duty, not an opportunity.

“Whereas this government wholeheartedly believes in it, so my question to them would be why not mark this great democratic event?”

There are currently eight bank holidays a year in England and Wales, nine in Scotland and 10 in Northern Ireland but the Wellingborough MP also asked the Chamber: “Why don’t we celebrate our United Kingdom?”

He said: “There is no day in the year where we celebrate the union of our great four nations as one United Kingdom.

“I believe this should be corrected and the people of this country should be able to come together and rejoice as one.”

To his critics, he said those who reject the ideas behind the proposed day off “can always work on United Kingdom Day”.

The Bill was introduced without a vote and its second reading is scheduled for June 26, which Mr Bone said would happen to be United Kingdom Day if it existed.

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