Hard Hrexit, Or Soft Hrexit? Houghton Regis Votes to Leave Bedfordshire

Last year Houghton Regis voted to leave Bedfordshire, but the population remains split over the decision.  Leave won by 52% to 48%.

Key Leave campaigner, Mr Park Avenue, said, "It was a momentous decision, Houghton Regis has voted to Leave, and we're now free to trade with the rest of the UK, and control our boundaries."

When Article 50 of the Treaty of Bedfordshire is invoked, the other 125 settlements in Bedfordshire will discuss Houghton Regis' decision. Negotiations over Houghton Regis leaving Bedfordshire will then begin. A draft deal will be put to Central Bedfordshire Council (59 members). Also to be consulted are  Luton Borough Council (48 members) and Bedford Borough Council (41 members). The draft deal will need to be approved by at least 82 settlements with 65% of the population of Bedfordshire. And then the draft deal needs to be ratified by a Parliament of all Bedfordshire Councils. At the end of two years, negotiations can be extended further but only if all 125 settlements agree. If there is no agreement to extend then the Treaty of Bedfordshire ceases to apply to Houghton Regis.

Following Hrexit, the office of Deputy Town Clerk will embark on asking for quotations from counties all over the UK, to clear away the town's household rubbish; providing housing benefits; schools and education; dealing with anti-social orders; providing services to encourage employment; road repairs; council housing repairs; children's services; pollution control; control of libraries and the countryside; gritting; electoral registration; registration of births deaths, marriages; health and social care.

Depending on negotiations, new passports may need to be issued to anyone who wishes to leave the town, and all visitors may need to be processed before they can enter. New employment will be created to build, and police, a new wall that will be erected around the town to keep out undesirables.

Unexpectedly,  the main supermarket in the town, has already declared that they will be leaving Houghton Regis and seeking an alternative location within Bedfordshire. A spokesman for the company said, "After Hrexit, it will be harder for people from all other parts of Bedfordshire to shop here, so we want to be where most of our customers will be."

 Mr Park Avenue, said, "We're now free to trade with the rest of the UK. We have other grocery stores in Houghton Regis, we should be loyal to them. And we'll approach the other main stores to supply us. I'm sure we can get a better deal. There's too many foreigners in shopping areas like Luton, anyway, and Milton Keynes is much nicer."

But it wasn't clear 'who' would approach the other stores to broker a better deal for Houghton Regis. The Town Clerk advised that negotiating with major grocery suppliers to come to Houghton Regis within the UK was outside her remit.

Houghton Regis will also lose it's police force. "Not to worry, we'll set up our own police force, and I'm sure they'll do a better job than Bedfordshire Police ever did for us," commented Mrs Park Avenue. The Town Mayor was unavailable for comment when we asked him how he was going to set up a town-wide police force, but was seen in worried conversation with a Mr Willows, and the words "consultation" were mentioned.

Social Services and Highways Maintenance are currently provided by Bedfordshire, and the office of Deputy Mayor of Houghton Regis would have two years to negotiate with them to take over running the services for Houghton Regis. "We'd like a reciprocal arrangement with them so that we can continue to offer this to our residents." But Leave campaigners have insisted that Leave means Leave, saying they want a hard Hrexit, not a soft Hrexit.

Mr Ad Infinitum commented, "Taking back control of of our boundaries will put a stop to developers coming here to ruin our countryside. Planning in Bedfordshire has gone too far, taking up all our wildlife spaces."