19 DEC 2018

Brexit Update 9.30am

It is now just 100 days until we are due to leave the EU and businesses, public services and the Public Accounts Committee are again producing evidence and warnings that the UK is unprepared for the shock of a No Deal Brexit with no transition. Any talk of 'managed no deal' is no more than a dangerous delusion and no more reassuring than a 'managed' car crash. No responsible government could knowingly inflict this kind of pain on the people and I could not remain a member of the Conservative Party if they made that their main policy objective to deliver such a disastrous outcome. No one voted for economic, health and social problems on the scale that would be unleashed in the event of a chaotic exit at very short notice.

I will continue to campaign in Parliament for the people to have the opportunity to examine and give their own verdict on the Prime Minister's deal with an alternative option to remain.

Many people have asked what I would do if the result were the same and Britain voted to leave. The answer is straightforward, I would do all I could to make that work in the full knowledge that we would be going forward together as a nation with informed consent. It is not asking the people that undermines trust in democracy, rather it would be to blunder ahead with plans that neither please the 48% nor the majority of the loudest campaigners for Leave.

19 comments

To those who say that a second referendum would be undemocratic: then refer to definition of democracy. The people cannot betray the people. To those who say that it would be divisive: I doubt there has ever been a country more divided than we are now. And to those, like Mrs May herself, who say that we should all get behind her deal to unify the country?--why should we, it's a shoddy half backed deal that will do irreparable harm. May has had her narrow focus on immigration and ignored the views and concerns of the wider public, Scotland, the sciences, our manufacturing business and the service sector from the moment she took office. Bring on the second referendum. The only hope left is for the better UK that it might bring. And if it doesn't, so be it: then it will be crystal clear that the time has come to abandon this country.
- richard

'I would do all I could to make it work' says Sarah. Yet she has spent 2 years undermining her party in an attempt to not make it work. She should back the Referendum result so we can move forward together but she won't because she disagrees with the result. Her. Informed consent arguement is not only inaccurate but foolish, we cannot know what is ahead either in or out of the EU. We do know that for many years the EU has been undemocratic and corrupt, I doubt that it's about to change. Sarah has a low opinion of her countryfolk, I believe we can do better outside the EU than in; how about a bit of self belief Sarah !
- John

The more interesting question for Sarah would be "what would you do if the vote was to remain, and the situation changed again (as it surely will, as the EU moves towards ever closer union). Would we have another referendum to ensure that the choice of the British people is fully informed?". Surely the logic of her current argument would apply equally to another referendum. And indeed to further referenda endlessly because events always change. The bottom line is that people voted to leave. This was an instruction of the British people. A much more direct and clear instruction than even a general election. It should happen. If subsequently the people change their minds, then they should elect a government committed to a referendum and campaign to re-join the EU.
- George, Paignton

You are doing a fantastic job, stick to your principles! Government is putting its electorate in harms way and is using every strategy, including the blackmail of Parliament ( 'May's Way' or the Highway over 'Brexit Cliff') to secure the Prime Minister's inadequate deal. If it ever delivered on this foul threat it would create such chaos that our people would suffer for a generation. We are a representative Democracy and other MPs should reflect on their duty. Those who trumpet our taking back of Parliamentary sovereignty should reflect on that and step up to the plate. Delaying or revoking article 50 is going to be needed to buy time for a People's vote . 'Above all do no harm' was instilled in you as a Doctor and many of your Parliamentary colleagues on all sides of the house would do well to adopt this principle. To use your metaphor the consent form for the radical operation that was proposed in 2016 has, in the light of subsequent research, been revealed as most probably very dangerous to the health of the patient. Will Dr Parliament , deny Patient UK the chance to reconsider her consent and wheel her kicking and screaming into the operating theatre? This horror story cannot be allowed to materialise. Keep up the good work!
- Peter

Keep up the good work? Yes ignore people, tell them they made a mistake, overrule their wishes and tell them that doctor knows best...how to discredit the political system and the medical profession at the same time and give the far right the biggest boost ever.
- Steven Spence

Wheel the patient in! The doctor saying "no you made your decision back in 2016, you can't change your mind!" Two years ago the patient was only 52% sure an operation was required. She has been doing some independent research of her own every day since then and wants a chance to exercise her rights over her own body. She wants to decide for herself. No one is saying she made a mistake two years ago. The metaphor places Government in the role of a Doctor who didn't put the patient in a truly informed position. How can giving her a chance to exercise her choice be telling her she has made a mistake? That's why consent is an active process. If a doctor acted towards a patient in the way Government is acting towards the electorate it would be committing assault.
- Peter

Peter, now that you have exhausted that metaphor. Can you tell me one occasion when you or anyone else supporting a People's Vote has suggested that we have a referendum on any European issue before. Maastricht? The Euro? Amsterdam? Nice? Even the original EU Referendum? I suspect not. But now things are going against you, you are the biggest fan of referenda going. You want two votes on this issue, but were not prepared for one on any of the other issues. With all due respect, people see you and the entire People's Vote brigade for the charlatans they are.
- George, Paignton

George, We didn't have a referendum on Maastricht, The Euro, Amsterdam or Nice, because we live in a representative democracy where Parliament is sovereign. The problem now is that Parliament is incapable of making a decision on the the outcome of the referendum and as they turned some sovereignty to the people. The only way to make another decision is to ask the people again in another referendum.
- Simon

George, I'm not sure that metaphor it's exhausted. However to answer your question; I am not a fan of referenda at all, but a big fan of our British Representative Democracy. The whole thing is a disaster. Both Clement Attlee and Margaret Thatcher were highly suspicious of referenda (Thatcher referenced Attlee in a Lancaster House speech, she shared his view that referenda are 'alien to our Constitution and the tool of demagogs and dictators.') Remember that at the time of the 2016 referendum there was an overwhelming majority for Remain in Parliament. However once David Cameron was very cleverly out-manoeuvred by a small cabal of eurosceptic M.P.s ( looking no doubt to benefit from a post Brexit de-regulated Singapore style off-shore tax haven economy ) we were sunk. Inflict years of austerity on vast swathes of the electorate, then offer them a referendum and tell them if they vote Brexit they're going to have £350 million/ week for the NHS and an improvement in their prospects with no down sides and the result is not that surprising.. It's not looking so good now is it? If you think it is, you haven't been looking at the weight of evidence building against your analysis. Parliament, not the people, made a huge error in giving us the 2016 referendum, when as our representatives, they overwhelmingly viewed the EU as a net benefit to our people. Don't use 'with all due respect ' then show absolutely none, by name calling, you have thereby undermined your position. If a new referendum is called by our Parliamentary representatives, so be it, I'll exercise my democratic right and vote. Personally I'd prefer Parliament to exercise its true British Sovereignty and vote to revocate Article 50 but I can understand that a second referendum is likely to be its final preference.
- Peter

Mass hysteria everywhere! (Some) MPs running around like headless chickens clucking – “If we leave the EU Club without a deal, the world we end as we know and the sky will fall in! I have a cunning plan! The deal is rubbish – everyone knows this. But let’s offer them a referendum; no call it a ‘Peoples Vote’; that gives them the choice of the rubbish deal or to not leave at all – everyone will want to Remain!” My, my, what would our parents/grandparents/great grandparents who lived through real hardship and two world wars think of us now? Please get a grip – I can’t see the mass hysteria in the EU with the contingency plans they have put in place in the last few days – eminently sensible from their perspective. Let’s get our contingency plans in place and continue to talk. If we can’t agree before we leave, let’s reciprocate where necessary and implement our plans, but carry on talking. It is in the long term interest of all to come to an agreement – anyone in business knows this! Anyone who has negotiated a complex business deal knows this! Now, Dr Wollaston and your fellow MPs, cut out the hysterical nonsense, act more like the responsible adults you are and carry out the express wishes of the electorate which you originally agreed to do so and signed up to with your manifesto. If you and your fellow elected MPs are unable to do this – please move aside for someone who can.
- Patrick, Brixham

Parliament has made a decision. Surprised you hadn't noticed. It has passed primary legislation that we will leave the EU at 11pm on 29 March 2019. I'm looking forward to that. Unless it passes contrary primary legislation, then that is what will happen. The inability to act on a simple instruction from the people would indicate that our parliament represents only itself, and not the people. That would be a strange sort of representative democracy. History suggests that parliaments that act contrary to the views of the people they purport to represent rarely live happily every after. The greatest danger to this country is not some phantom warning about the economic consequences of national independence. It is the threat to our democracy from a political elite who do not give tuppence for the clearly expressed view of the British people.
- George, Paignton

It's important to remember that under the British Constitution Parliament cannot embark on surrendering or changing sovereignty without going to the people, ie. A Referendum.
- John

George and Patrick. I can tell you have strong views. I can suggest a reading from Mathew 13:9 "He who has ears let him hear". Please don't try to deny others the opportunity to express their view on their future via a referendum.
- richard

Richard, quite right. Please don't try to deny others the implementation of a referendum result after they have expressed their view on their future ! Once implemented by all means go for another referendum if it starts to go bottom up, otherwise eat humble pie.
- John

Richard – vary condescending and may I say, quite insulting comment – my views have been very factual and I have not insulted anyone and have full respect for your views. I have listened to all the arguments (and I mean all arguments) including the latest story in the respected Irish Examiner newspaper about the Irish backstop – look it up if you’re interested although it may not fit in with your view of where we are! My last comment may have been a bit flippant – but can anyone not see the irony of whole situation? I am a traditional Tory voter – my main fear is that the Tory party will be wiped out if they continue down the current path – perhaps that is the agenda of some of the Remain supporters. I am tired of being insulted as a thick, old brexiteer whose views are wrong! If Remain had won the referendum. I would have accepted the view of the majority and moved on. As I have said many times before, I have no problem with another referendum – but please present a fair one – not the one our MP is advocating i.e. a discredited deal no one wants v Remain or even the option of a referendum that will split the leave vote between 2 Leave options v 1 Remain option. This is the first time I have ever added comments to any blog or political discussion – and probably will be my last. All I ask in a forum such as this is facts – please keep on posting factual information which I do read and it may help to persuade me to change my mind – rather than telling me I don’t listen!
- Patrick, Brixham

Let there be peace. Come the new year peace will reign across the land and Parliament will resume and recognise this peace and in recognising this peace will vote favourably for Brexit and achieve a magnificent outcome that recognises the people's vote of '16 . This will bring further peace and goodwill into the distant future and the country will live happily without outside interference. I see further peace being achieved in the next general election when we the people exercise our democratic process and elect an entirely different set of parliamentarians and progress further with our new unified and refreshed government. May the peace reign long and long may the future parliamentarians desist from hypocrisy. Who called me a stupid woman?
- Derek

Very good Richard. I'm lot altogether sure that the Gospel of Matthew was suggesting that government should hold endless referenda and postpone any action until you are satisfied with the result. Your freedom of speech is protected with rights guaranteed long before 1973. And when you seek to use a governing elite to frustrate the clearly expressed view of the British people, I have the same right to hold you in contempt.
- George, Paignton

No one can quantify Brexit or no Brexit as the future is unquantifiable and to continue suggesting otherwise is ridiculous. The future paths that we individually or collectively choose to travel will bring us to different futures. One and all will never know the outcome of a future unchosen as this path will never be known to anyone. This is the dilemma we face individually and collectively and no one can promise a certain outcome of any unknown paths that may be chosen. Therefore to Brexit or not to Brexit remains guesswork as both paths have potential to be fraught with difficulties,both paths could equally prove beneficial to the country. Who knows these answers?No one. And he who says he knows is a snake, a confidence trickster.
- Derek

The current withdrawal agreement cannot and must not be accepted by Parliament. Our country and it's people deserve better than that! As for 'Plan B' there are only two options that fulfill the mandate delivered by the referendum vote: 1. Canada Plus, Plus, or 2. WTO (or No Deal as Remainers like to call it) These are the only options that result in us LEAVING the EU and being completely free to pursue lucrative new free trade deals around the world e.g. US, Asia-Pacific, India, Australia and New Zealand. THIS is where the real Brexit dividend can be found, NOT tying ourselves to the sinking ship of the EU.
- David H

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