Leaving the European Union with the best deal for Britain January 2017
Thank you for contacting me and giving me the opportunity to correct some of the wilful misrepresentation by defeated local UKIP candidates regarding how our democracy operates to implement the decision to leave the European Union, a result which - for the avoidance of any doubt - I wholly accept.
In order to manage his own hard right dissidents inside the Conservative Party, the then Prime Minister Cameron abdicated the Government’s responsibility on the European Union and put the issue to a referendum on the principle of IN or OUT. The referendum voted OUT so the simple bit is done.
However that was the beginning not the end of the process. Now we get to the complicated bit, to sort out from all the many options, HOW we get OUT with least damage and most benefit for the UK. This will involve countless renegotiations, do we ask to be in or out of the Single market or Customs Union, how are hundreds of UK laws agreed by us over 40 years with Europe to be rewritten, do we isolate ourselves from a big trading block at the very moment the world is putting up barriers to free trade, what happens on movement of people and immigration rules revision and many, many more detailed questions on which we must first be clear on what we would like and then try to negotiate compromises with 27 reluctant countries.
Of course the Parliament elected by the people is created to help get to grips with exactly those sort of detailed and complex questions. Sadly, in another misjudgement, the Conservative Government - which never expected to lose its Referendum – did not have a Plan and has tried to make these difficult decisions in secret as it goes along and without meaningfully involving our recently elected Parliament. This is against our democratic history and values, and is the issue which landed the Government before the Supreme Court who declared it illegal and insisted that a proper Bill be put before Parliament.
Indeed upholding the sovereignty of Parliament was a key point used by those wanting to break from the EU. This part of our Constitution must now be upheld not cast aside by any Prime Minister let alone one who has not been elected by the people. The Government is separate from Parliament and has no right to push through decisions on these issues by dictat and without Parliament passing the appropriate laws, especially since the Government has no Plan for how Exit from the EU is to take place.
Now as a result of pressure from myself and Labour MP’s, our Parliament on 7th December 2016 voted to demand from the Government a Plan for European Union exit. There has to be a date for the official 2 year leaving period[Article 50] to start(which once started cannot be stopped), I believe we should commit to that date when you, Parliament and everyone else has seen and had chance to examine a serious Plan. So far they have given us a speech, the promise of a White Paper but no Plan, in other words we are being asked to sign a blank cheque.
We should all respect the result of the Referendum and also respect the way in which we can use our democracy to get the best Exit outcome for our country. It is both, not one or the other. Indeed Government cooking up and forcing through an Exit without a proper Plan or real Parliamentary accountability will make this issue more divisive to our nation when we should be using our democracy to create a strong Exit plan which pulls together and unifies all of our people whichever way they voted.
We should beware those who tell us this is a simple matter, it is not. While ever we still have a representative democracy I will continue to use my judgement with the best interests of my constituents in mind, both in this moment and in the future as we leave the European Union. I will continue to take the views that you sent to me very seriously as this develops further.
Thanks again for taking the time to contact me on this matter.