10 DEC 2018

Brexit Update 12.30pm

The Parliamentary vote on Tuesday has now been delayed and we are awaiting a Statement from the Prime Minister in the Commons at 3.30 today to set out what happens next. I hope that there will be an acknowledgement of the gridlock in Parliament and a pledge to return the decision on the final deal to the British people, with an option to remain with the deal we already have.

The European Court of Justice has this morning ruled that the UK can unilaterally withdraw Article 50 if that follows a democratic process and that if it did so we would remain on current terms. This matters because there has been some false speculation that Britain might face a penalty for remaining and this puts beyond doubt that this would not be the case.

15 comments

The only penalty Britain would face for remaining in the EU would be remaining in the EU. Can we have the decision on who our MP will be returned to the people of Totnes? "A people's vote"? It's just that I voted a party committed to honouring the referendum result and removing us from the EU, the Single Market and the Customs Union. Now I find the constituency lumbered with Sarah Wollaston, elected under false pretences and refusing to do as she promised. Surely this is the vote that is really required?
- George, Paignton

The Referendum was quite clear - a vote to Leave the EU. It doesn't matter whether you want to remain or leave - the result was given by the majority of the people in the UK. Whether we were misled by either side doesn't matter. If Democracy is to be followed then we leave. There was no agreement to give people another vote, a voice or anything else. It is the responsibility of Government to Leave. We are a Democratic country. If ways around the outcome of that Vote are found and actioned, then we are no longer a Democratic country. Agree with George, if we voted Conservatives into power and then some of us changed our minds, would anything be done? If you don't honour this Vote, you let down everyone who voted, whether they changed their minds subsequently or not. This is about the importance of democracy.
- jane

Dr Wollaston now wants a “people’s vote” what is the difference between this and a referendum. Apparently those who voted “leave” in the first referendum didn’t understand what they were voting for, how would they know the second time? I agree with George, Paignton, i am 72 years old, I have always voted Conservative, but for sure Dr.Wollaston will not got my vote in any future election, as she is rolling out the carpet for a Corbyn government.
- Cindy

Dr Wollaston spoke passionately in Parliament about going back to the people to vote on a Brexit now known more about. I would ask Dr Wollaston whether she is prepared to support the Prime Minster and support the leaving Europe after conducting a constituency review? My understanding is all party Manifestos were to honour Brexit. To go to a people’s vote and it’s to stay, what about the disenfranchised voters who still remain convinced that being a “51st state of Europe”. Do we then seek a third vote when staying in is examined in detail and it’s disadvantages highlighted. If she is not prepared to honour her constituents views to leave, perhaps she should make way for someone who represents the views of her voters.
- Mike Freeman

Just wondering who voted in 2016 , was it guinea pigs? Oh wait a minute , it was people. We've already had the people's vote and the result was to leave failing, corrupt EU. How has Sarah Wollaston got the audacity to be an MP when she clearly does not believe in or support democracy?
- Fred Paignton

Personally I am disgusted by Dr Wollaston's conduct throughout the Brexit issue. A last minute change of mind on something as important as leaving the EU, coupled with the usual publicity that she seems to crave - really! She seemed then to forget she was elected to represent a fishing constituency! Since then her and her like have sought to undermine the PM and the democratic vote to leave the EU. That made the task of negotiating a fair exit for the UK an almost impossible task, given the weakness of the undermined negotiators. As a result we have now a weak compromise. Dr Wollaston seems to want to tie the UK into a deal that sees the UK taxpayer having to pay for the failings in countries such as the currently riotous France, the failing economies of Greece and Italy, let alone the many other countries in the group of 27. I doubt most UK citizens could correctly name all those countries if asked! I fully support the views of Fred and George above. When we next face an election I, as a normal Tory voter together I suspect with all my extended family will not be voting for her! She is a disgrace! Good on health issues, but very poor on much else!
- David Pakes - South Brent

The referendum was a very close vote. Only 70% of those eligible to vote bothered to turn out so by no stretch of the imagination can it be said to be a majority of the country. Brexit will make us poorer. The young people of this country will have to live with the choice we make now for the next 50 years so we neen to be very careful what we do next. Anyone who has taken the trouble to watch the debate (sadly curtailed) on the deal will have seen the division amongst MPs, and the wide range of opinopns on what to do next. We can stop brexit, take stock and think what to do next and take an informed decision on what to do next. This is too important to make a hasty panicked decision.
- Bob

Who ever says we must be bound indefinitely by the result of a general election, regardless of our experience of what happens afterwards? We learn more after each result and hey-ho, some want to change their minds next time! And what's all this about 'the majority of the people in the UK'? If by 'the people in the UK' we mean those entitled to express a view through the ballot box, only 37.4% of those people in the UK actually voted in favour of over-turning, potentially irrevocably, a 45-year-established constitutional dispensation. Whatever happened to the usual requirement for constitutional changes to be based on a two-thirds majority? The much-hyped 52% falls a tad short of that. We should now be planning back from Thursday 23rd May 2019, the date of the next Euro-elections. The plan goes like this, with the questions to be put in that UK vote on Thursday 23rd May, in sequence: 1 - A) do you wish the UK to continue its membership of the EU, or B) do you wish the UK to cease its membership of the EU? ['X' marks the spot for your choice]. 2 - in the event that 1 A) commands majority support, please now vote for your preferred candidate to be elected to the European Parliament for 2019-24, so that in continuing its membership of the EU the UK will maintain its ability to influence the decisions of the European Parliament and of other European institutions with a voice, a vote, and if necessary a veto. Remember that the UK is one of 28 EU countries ie 3.6%, with 10% of the seats in the European Parliament [is that not already a good deal?] 3 - in the event that 1 B) commands majority support, please indicate if you wish the UK to cease its membership of the EU A) with the deal with the EU which has been negotiated, or B) without any deal with the EU. ['X' marks the spot for your choice]. And by the way, postpone the other UK elections due on Thursday 2nd May 2019 and hold them on the 23rd too, as we've already done several times before. If the Leavers are so confident that they're still right, why are they frit?
- Rog Laker

Of course we're not bound indefinitly by an election result. In a democracy you implement the result and are able to revisit at a later time; tough if you're on the losing side but don't whinge. The referendum was won by 3.8%, many elected MPs were elected by smaller margins but you don't hear them demanding a new election. The Remainers seem to have rather defeatist personalities, maybe they were spoiled as children, success comes from believing in something and working towards it.
- John

Hope your pleased with yourself Sarah, now a vote of no confidence in Teresa May, a woman who has tried to carry out the peoples democratic vote. Teresa and the Conservative party were badly let down by you, Anna Soubry, and 10 other vipers, from the onset. Your constituents voted to leave 53% so you didn't represent them, you didn't represent the Conservative Party who I voted for to have the referendum and carry out the result of that referendum, so I can only conclude you believe yourself above, the democratic view of the Public, your Party, and your constituents. Surely you should stand as an Independent ?? You have contributed to irreparable damage both financially and democratically to this great country. Teresa May is an honest person who stands by Conservative values and standards, unlike yourself. I'm sure Jeremy Corbyn is eternally grateful to you and your little gang. SHAMEFUL.
- Peter Mulloy

Theresa May has to go, no question. Since the Chequers weekend where she took direct control over negotiations with the EU the whole process has been shambolic. All she has managed to achieve in two years is a draft withdrawal agreement that nobody likes and which gives the EU everything it wants, in return for making the UK an EU colony with no say over regulations affecting it's future. Even at this late hour I would prefer to see David Davis or Dominique Raab (preferably the former) take over to sort this terrible mess out. As I have said many times in earlier contributions to these pages Theresa May is taking our country in the wrong direction and unless she is removed she will lead the conservative party to a serious collapse at the next general election.
- David H

Rog Laker. An interesting if very complex referendum question. And to answer your question – am I ‘frit’ – the answer is yes, but not for the reasons you think. Look back at history to see why – the party of the most dangerous European leader of the 20th century was actually elected! When there is widespread dissatisfaction and the governing elite decide to ignore the wishes of a significant number of its electorate, therein lies trouble. So, we have a ‘Peoples Vote’ and Remain win by say 52 to 48%. Now we have nearly half of the electorate feeling cut off and ignored. What do they do? They can no longer vote for their current MP if they feel that they have been ignored. So in this vacuum, the electorate turns to the extreme (left or right) to protest – there are already parties here in the UK looking to exploit this. Look over the channel – what do you think is fuelling the rise of extremism? Could it be a distant centralised elite who ignore the wishes of the electorate? Please, Dr Wollaston, get behind your party to deliver what you had promised, deliver Brexit and let us avoid the disaster of extremism and learn our lessons from history!
- Patrick, Brixham

When was the authority to decide national policy devolved to just 600 Parliamentary individuals? I thought, maybe naively that our MPs were elected to represent the wishes of those who elected them! In this constituency we voted to leave the EU and after all these months have an opportunity to leave under a deal, which although imperfect, represents months of talks, negotiations and compromises or leave with no deal and forge our own future. I, for one, favour the latter - a clean break -- we can be self-determining and not held hostage to EU manipulators. The EU need us as much as we need them as a market for goods and services! Dr. Wollaston was elected to serve the people who make up the democracy we treasure and should not simply vote according to her own predilections. Theresa May has maintained a dignified and statesmanlike position throughout this process and, whether you agree with the deal on the table or not, she deserves respect and support. In all the rhetoric flying about from all sides at the moment the two options above mentioned seem to be all that is possible - the deal negotiated or no deal at all.
- Gerry - Kingsbridge

Just an observation - in the overall referendum vote in the South Hams 29308 voted to remain and 26142 voted to leave on an 80.3% turnout which is about 53% in favour of remaining, the opposite to the overall national result. While South Hams is more than just the Totnes constituency it seems unlikely to me that the higher level of voting to remain was confined to areas of the South Hams outside Totnes. On that basis, isn't it possible that our MP is actually following the wishes of the majority of her constituents?!
- Francis South Brent

The referendum was 2.5 years ago, and the facts now are totally different from the lies and deceit presented by the Brexit side, and of course a major benefactor is under criminal investigation. Democracy demands that the Parliament return the deal to the people for approval, as a union would seek ratification from the workers after negotiating a deal with the employers. So Sarah is quite correct in the brave stance she is taking.
- Richard

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