28 NOV 2018

It is time for a Peoples Vote. Without informed consent to the final version of Brexit there is no valid consent

The message from clinicians and scientists is clear; Brexit is bad for our health. It will be harmful for people who rely on the NHS, research, social care and public health as well as for the workforce on which these depend. Having listened to the evidence presented to the Health and Social Care Committee in Parliament over the past couple of years, I cannot remain silent about the impact this will have on the communities I was elected to represent, especially in the event of a chaotic exit with no deal and no transition. Hard Brexit in particular would knowingly, and avoidably, inflict reckless damage to the close partnerships, built up over decades, in place at every stage from research and development to medicines and devices arriving on the community pharmacy or hospital shelf.

There is no version of Brexit which will benefit the NHS, social care, public health or our life sciences sector, only varying degrees of harm. This, together with the wider economic fallout from Brexit, will have the hardest impact on the most disadvantaged in society. We would not be insulated from the economic damage here in Devon.

Brexit reality is vastly different to the fantasy Brexit miss-sold to the public during the referendum campaign. The promise on the side of the bus of an extra £350m per week has crashed into the inconvenient truth that there is no Brexit bonanza for the NHS, only a Brexit penalty. A new report, Brexit and the Health and Social Care Workforce in the UK - by the National Institute of Economic and Social Research (NIESR) - also highlights the vital role of EEA nationals across social care as well as the NHS, and the scale of the threat to recruitment and retention as a result of Brexit.

It is likely that there will be provision for doctors and nurses coming to the UK after Brexit, albeit at extra cost and bureaucracy, if the government follows the guidance of the Migration Advisory Committee. But the effect on the social care workforce and those who rely on them for care will be particularly serious because of the salary threshold of £30,000. We already have a serious shortfall of healthcare assistants in social care in our area. We cannot afford to lose or further demoralise those who have given so much to our health and care services.

Brexit is major constitutional, economic and social surgery and we are all being wheeled into the operating theatre on the basis of a vague consent form signed over two years ago when no one knew which of the many versions of Brexit would be taken forward. It is time to insist that our politicians apply the principle of informed consent. The Withdrawal Agreement has been published alongside a draft Future Framework for our relationship with the EU after Brexit. Only now can we properly weigh up the risks and benefits of the proposed surgery rather than the fantasy Brexit touted in the referendum. Parliament is in gridlock and there is no majority for any of the options. It is wholly disingenuous for Mr Corbyn or the right wing of the Tory Party to pretend that they could negotiate a better deal with less than 130 days until we could end up crashing out with no deal and no transition. Neither will an irresponsible leadership challenge help in such a moment of national crisis.

The Government needs to recognise the stalemate and suspend Article 50 to allow the public their say on the only realistic deal that could be negotiated. That People's Vote should include the option to remain in the EU.

People may come to the same conclusion to leave the European Union. To proceed without informed consent, however, would not only be grossly unethical, it would also place the blame for the unintended consequences squarely at the feet of all those politicians from across both main Parties who allowed it to happen.

Alongside a group of current and former clinicians in Parliament, I plan to bring forward an 'informed consent' amendment to the 'meaningful vote' approval motion on the final deal that would make the deal conditional on a People's Vote. It is not acceptable for MPs to sit on the sidelines claiming that the people have already delivered their verdict. Without informed consent there is no valid consent.

34 comments

Oh dear! Don’t know what to say! Buzz words “informed consent”, “Peoples Vote” etc. etc. All code for “We don’t like what you said so we are going to do everything we can to make you to change your mind”. I believe anyone who wanted to be was well informed – Mr Cameron and Mr Osbourne made clear what voting Leave meant. Mr Carney made clear the likely outcome on the economy. Yet the majority still voted to leave. If our MPs stopped to reflect and understand why people voted to leave instead of blaming the other side for the ‘exaggerations’ made by both sides (and continuing to be made), perhaps we would have made some progress. We trusted our representatives to get on with it – the Conservative manifesto was clear (as was the opposition manifesto) and was the contract between us, the electorate, and our representatives. The argument should be over – we decided to leave. If we wanted to remain, the Liberal Democrat manifesto was also clear. We voted to leave, we voted for the two biggest parties whose manifestos promised that we would leave. Now we want a third “Peoples Vote” because we didn’t give the right answer in the first two. What has democracy come to? If our elected representatives fail to represent us and honour their contract, why do we vote? It’s a crying shame what we have come to! Yes there will be bumps in the road and challenges. I left the safety of secure employment to set up on my own so know that feeling. We are resourceful and with the right leadership will succeed. If we had got on with it from the start, rather than going over old arguments, we would have been most of the way to addressing the challenges we will face.
- Patrick, Brixham

There is only one trade deal that would be acceptable to me and I suspect over 17 million people that voted for Brexit, in the face of Project Fear and that is the Canada plus, plus that we set out to negotiate in the first place. While this and all other versions of Brexit comes with a short term economic impact in the medium and longer term this will be more than compensated for when new trade deals with the Asia Pacific, US and other countries are in place. With respect we do NOT need another referendum when the first one is NOT being delivered by MP's, many of whom are in the remain camp and are STILL refusing to accept the original referendum result. Theresa May's shambolic deal needs to be rejected for the betrayal that it is and the text amended to retain good things that have been agreed covering citizens rights, defence and security and a Canada plus, plus agreement made. This delivers the Brexit I and millions of others voted for and gives true soveriegnty back to our Parliament, where it belongs.
- David H

When does Totnes get to give its informed consent for Sarah Wollaston to continue be our MP?
- George, Paignton

Here we go again, more project fear from Remoaner in chief, who does not believe in democracy and will not accept the will of the majority of British people All the usual buzzwords and phrases being rolled out. We`ve already had the people's vote and we voted to leave the EU governed by unelected bureaucrats. I notice SW uses the term `hard` brexit when the term should be `clean` Brexit. I`m fed up of being told I did not know what I was voting for. We had months and months of debate prior to the vote and the options were very clear. This current bunch of 650 MP`s (apart from about 40) are a complete and utter disgrace who I would not trust to run a bath , never mind the country. MP`s cannot have much faith in their own abilities if they are now afraid to govern a sovereign , successful, free trading nation with wonderful opportunities ahead. To add to my woes I have recently moved down to the area and was convinced and hopeful that Kevin Foster was my MP to represent only to find out it`s the dreadful Sarah Wollaston.
- Fred Paignton

Sarah, your constituents have voted overwhelmingly voted to leave the United States of Europe. Are you going to represent us or continue to fly in the face of democracy ?
- Debbie, Totnes

It appears that MPs are overwhelming opposed to Mrs May’s fake Brexit. Are you seriously proposing that if the House votes against, the decision could then be overturned by a people’s vote? If the only deal on offer is unacceptable, the choice is binary: in or out, and We the People have already decided. Please do your duty, and fulfill your manifesto pledge.
- John

I am delighted with your stand. The Leave Campaign sold a lie to the British people. Now that we know what we would get from Brexit, the people deserve a chance to think again. Well done Doctor!
- Peter

Remember that your vision or strategy should be to prevent a Corbyn Government. That is a far more serious threat to the well being of the UK than leaving The EU. Corbyn and McDonnell cannot be allowed anywhere near the Government as both are anti EU and would bankrupt the Country. They see the EU as being a neo liberal construct formed by an elite. Remember that. History will not view you in a positive light if the he destorys the econony. We cannot go back. We had the vote and the people spoke. If we stay in the EU we will lose our rebate and be dragged into ever closer Union. And an Euro Army beckons. I was a remainer but not now. I have to follow the democratic vote from 2016. So should you.
- Andy Totnes

Your whole stance appears to be based solely on the possible effects of Brexit on the workings of the NHS which is unsurprising as a GP. Your constituency contains Brixham who's whole livelyhood depends on fishing and the restrictions applied to them of the CFP. Would this not be a more pertinent sector to concern yourself with?
- Mark Dartmouth

The Referendum result was to leave, the Government to work for a best deal. Implementation was in the hands of Remainers who have engineered a bad deal in the hope to overturn the result. Sore losers. Time for a new leader to renegotiate with the EU, yes, of course they will, they have to. All undemocratic MPs like Sarah Wollaston, who voted with the intention of ignoring the result if they lost, should resign or await deselection.
- John

All we hear from Remain MPs is one deception heaped upon another. We were told this morning from the Culture secretary that we have three choices in fron of us. Accept the dreadful withdrawal agreement negotiated by Theresa May, leave the EU without a deal or have a second referendum. This is a deception and a barefaced LIE! The choices are clear if the PM does not see the futility of her position. We must vote down her deal and either leave with no deal, which gives us back a free and democratic country, or we have further discussion with the EU about a Canada plus style deal which those producing dodgy economic forecasts are deliberately avoiding. I don't buy their public statements that there will be no further discussion as they need a sensible trade deal just as much as we do. No amount of scaremongering will make me change my position. Either MPs respect the referendum result and support the decision to leave or the Conservative Party is finished, it is that simple. Furthermore Theresa May keeps saying she has secured a deal with the EU when anyone with half a brain can see she has nothing of the sort. Discussion of a deal only starts once we have left the EU and as the latest Cabinet Minister to resign has said if the withdrawal agreement is approved this country will be HAMMERED by the EU. The deception must end and the withdrawal agreement must be rejected. Only no deal or a Canada plus deal delivers on the referendum result.
- David H

as Liam Fox says, half the time the people and their MPs do not understand that we need a Withdrawal Agreement before ANY KIND of trade deal can be negotiated - whatever that may be. Quote: “Whatever deal we want to have in future still requires a Withdrawal Agreement. This is something people don’t seem to be grasping. Whether it’s the deal that the prime minister has set out for leaving the EU, or the Norway style, or the Canada FTA; they still require the Withdrawal Agreement.” So, we still require the Withdrawal Agreement before we get to the Canada FTA - our future TRADE DEAL as roughly outlined in the 26-page Political Statement tagged onto the Withdrawal Agreement. This is STILL to be finalised in the 2 - 4 years of the transition period (hopefully 2 years at most). All of this is much too much for Labour, SNP or the DUP members to understand it seems. Only the Labour Brexiteers have an inkling what Brexit actually means, but even Kate Hooey looks to be stumbling. She should have consulted Dr Fox... All this CR*P about a "peoples' Vote or a new EU-Referendum" will merely DELAY our Trade Deal negotiations and that could be crucial to a good Brexit. I'm not sure that even RED-Labour realises that. Their aim of course, is to take over from the Conservative Government in a G.E but little do they anticipate a groundswell of support for the PM Theresa May, a lot coming from Labour Leave voters and Jeremy Corbyn, before he was influenced by Seumus Milne his new Commie best friend and/or Marxist hanger-on McDonnell, to vote against the WA.
- Janet TT

We were sold lies in the first referendum . This is now so obvious that even ardent Brexiteers would be pretty blind or just plain stubborn not to accept they were lies . T May tried to get a better majority , and lost it it even then , ie the people actually did not support her Brexit . The government has only been functioning because of the effective ‘bribe’ in giving £ 1 Billion extra spending in Northern Ireland in return for 10 DUP votes to keep her goverment afloat . That actually means she had no Mandate . ( leave the fact that she spent my hard earned taxes propping up her government via the DUP deal ) . Now we can all see that the Deal is bad - it was always going to . You cant leave a club without losing benefits of being a Member , despite leading Politicians promising us that we could . TMs deal probably is the best we can get , but I absolutely agree its not good enough . I employ 50 staff . We are one of the few manufacturing companies in the UK and fewer still that export . I am told that the WTO tariiffs I will face will be outweighed by the amazing deals we will get in countries that are not as close geographically and that we deal little with at the moment . I frankly do not believe that . I am not alone , the government own figures tell us that these deals may only add 0.2% to GDP . So we now know so much more about the facts that the only reasonable and in fact honest and Democratic choice is a Second ( Thruthful ) Referendum . We were lied to. The first Referendum was therefore not Democratic. If politicians lie , the people in effect become puppets of those lies , it was not Democratoc at all. Repeated reference to that as ‘ the People have decided” is not only ignorant it is perpetuating dishonesty in Politics - and its Teresa May who is still beating that dishonest drum. The “leader” is perpetuating a lie, on behalf of the likes of Boris Johnson and Rees Mog. I was a true Conservative but its really difficult (almost impossible) to have any faith in that dogma . However I do believe that our Sarah Wollaston is an extraordinary MP to push for a correction in the Tory dogma and begin to restore our faith in Tory politics. A Truthful Second Referendum , but to get that universally accepted by Brexiters we have to out the liars - and that is Taking the precious time that we dont have much of .
- G David

I support your principled stand Dr Wollaston. I am appalled by the insults lobbed at you in the comments above by people who cannot distinguish between debate and rant. I find it bizarre that those in the Leave campaign will not simply accept that we were missold Brexit when the fact of that stares us in the face. No amount of justification based on selective facts will change that. Do you Brexiteers not understand the catastrophe that will result if we implement the dogs breakfast of a plan that your leaders have prepared for us. They had free rein to create and deliver what they promised and instead have come up with this. There is no solution to the Irish Border; no solution to the decimation to British Industry that will result from the removal of easy to pass borders; no solution to the immigration 'problem'. Just a vastly demeaned and impoverished country trying to tell itself it now has 'control'. Please come back to the real world, Brexiteers. Leave your fantasies. Stop this madness. We need you to help us get out of this mess.
- Peter Scott

Peter, I keep hearing that we didn’t know what we were voting for – that we were missold BREXIT. The truth is that the facts are out there if you want to find them. I mean real facts – not “decimation to British Industry”, “no solution to immigration” or “no solution to the Irish Border”. However, I completely agree with you on the “dogs breakfast of a plan” drawn up and will fully support Dr Wollaston should she vote against it. However, a real fact – this was not by a “BREXIT leader” as you suggest, but by someone firmly in the Remain camp! I admire the principled stand made by Dr Wollaston– although I do not agree with it. I don’t see lots of abuse above as you do– just a degree of frustration with the current situation and an electorate who wish they had understood these views before the last General Election. When can we really trust politicians to tell us the complete truth – only selective information that supports their view? This has always been the case. For example, let’s look at some real facts – YES, we hear a lot about the fact that nearly half (44%) of UK exports in goods and services went to other countries in the EU in 2017. However, the rest of the EU as a whole sells a lot more to us than we sell to it – in fact, 23 of the 27 countries sell more to us than we do to them. As an example, Germany sold us over £20bn more than we sold them. Overall, the EU sold around £70bn more to us than we did to them – figures vary slightly from one website to another but are all of this magnitude. The only country with a significant balance of trade in our favour is Ireland. Think about it – that is a strong position to be able to negotiate from! Why would Germany want to put trade barriers and tariffs in place? Lots more examples like this if you want to look. I base my decision on a number of factors and not the selective ‘truths’ (or what some people call lies) of either side – whether it be the £350 million for the NHS or the total collapse of the economy (and everything else it seemed) if we dared vote for BREXIT. Let’s just get on and implement the outcome of the referendum and negotiate from a position of strength as the trade figures above suggest we should be able to. Such incompetence and infighting in government can only lead to the conclusion that the majority of our political representatives (apart from a few) have never had the intention of acting on the outcome of the referendum – so came up with a ‘deal’ so bad that it is rejected out of hand and then seek to manipulate the outcome of a second referendum by the choices given to ensure that we give the right answer this time. It is all so disappointing from a democracy point of view! I am probably wasting my breath here as we have all already made up our minds!
- Patrick, Brixham

Peter above. More marks for comedy than cohesion in that argument. Seriously, get a grip. "I support your principled stand Dr Wollaston"...this is Sarah Wollaston? An MP who initially stood for election in 2015 on a pledge to have an EU referendum. When her party won this election, she voted to have a referendum. She initially advocated a Leave vote, consistently tweeting messages about the Brussels kleptocracy and how undemocratic the EU was. Then she converted, miraculously advocating a Remain vote just weeks before the vote. She then pivoted, supporting a party pledging to honour the referendum vote and withdraw us from the Customs Union and Single Market. Then she advocated a "People's Vote" (as if we haven't had one). She is many things (most far more insulting than any comments above you claim to be so offended by). But PRINCIPLED?! Are you having a laugh? "They (presumably he means Brexiteers) had free rein to create and deliver what they promised and instead have come up with this". Really? We've had a Remainer as PM. All of the Ministries of State are occupied by Remainers. PM, Chancellor, Foreign Sec, Home Sec, Deputy PM. Civil Service entirely dominated by Remainers. Again, not really backed by the facts. "There is no solution to the Irish Border". Aside from the solutions that any other countries with borders have? The previous Irish government of Enda Kenny did not raise this issue. The EU has used this issue to meddle in the NI Peace process, aided by a very anti-unionist Varadkhar government in Dublin. The EU used this issue to hijack and break these talks. Remainers have enthusiastically used this issue to thwart the referendum result of 2016. Colluding with a hostile foreign government to weaken the British negotiating position...almost the definition of a Fifth Column. No wonder EU enthusiasts have such a job in convincing people that they have any affection for Britain. "Please come back to the real world". Oh the irony. Why don't you take that advice yourself?
- George, Paignton

I am in your constituency but did not vote Tory. As a Lib Dem I am very pleased that you have changed your mind about Brexit. Changing your mind after more information becomes available is a democratic right and common sense. Please carry on backing another vote. The disaster of Brexit must be stopped.
- Susan. Paignton

I voted to remain in the EU as did the majority of people in the South Hams! I have seen nothing to change my opinion and I’m not sure that a second vote is necessarily the right thing. I hope that you vote for the deal that’s on the table as I dread to think what will happen if we leave with no deal. I worked in the NHS for over 20years and was not taken in by the pledge on the side of a bus or indeed anything else that was said by those Brexiteers who turned tail and ran away when they got what they wanted! Well done Theresa for taking on the job!
- Carole

If by informed you mean acknowledging both the poisitves as well as the negatives of the UK leaving the EU, then as somene who only focuses on the negatives, I'm not entirely sure you are qualified to impose such a decision on us. And isnt this at the numb of the argument. My firm believe is the government, servants of the people, should in 2016 have remained non-partisan, presenting a co-herent argument both for why we should stay and why we should leave. Instead it was a free-for-all, with both sides indulging in slightly misleading information. So the population had to filter all this 'noise' whilst being told time and time again... you have this one go. No re-runs. No second chances. So, how do you think people reacted to this? After weeks of TV debates, MSM reporting, you honestly believe people made their mind up on catching sight of a bus with a number on the side... or the endless 'cliff-edge' scenaros? Let alone your change of sides days, with the coordinated MSM coverage? And since we are talking about informed... perhaps you'd like to explain how you envisage the EU will developing over the coming 5, 10, 15 years? As someone who had to provide a brief to a multi-national business on the Maastricht treaty, I distinctly recall identifying it as a one-way street to a Federal Europe. Something subsequent treaties have built on. So please, lets be honest here. During this informed vote, are you going to stand up and tell the people of the UK what staying will entail? ie The true cost.
- Stuart Price

I wholeheartedly agree with Sarah's views. I think Brexit will be a disaster. I voted remain but I had no idea of the chaos it would cause and therefore I doubt that anyone else did. We were fed a load of lies by the Leave campaign. The Remain campaign was frankly poor and I think they were convinced the result would be to stay that they didn't try hard enough. I think we need a second referendum. The first one was very close. I think we should have a second one to check that the first represents the (now) informed opinion of the people. I will accept the second result.
- Simon Lansdown

Like Simon, I'm in compete agreement with Sarah's views. As the Leave campaign was full of non- or even misinformation (and the Remain campaign was scarcely a campaign), it is time to ask a (little) more-informed voting public what they think. Now we have more of an idea of how any Brexit will affect aspects of our everyday lives - cost of living, the NHS, the environment, food safety, workers' rights - I hope people will think carefully about the whole idea rather than one or two aspects that appeal to them.
- Morgaine

Anyone that thinks a betrayal of 17.4 million people that voted to LEAVE the EU in the face of 'project fear' will get them re-elected is living in cloud cuckoo land! The current Withdrawal Agreement needs to be rejected and we need to go back to the EU with a very clear message that there is no agreement while the 'backstop' remains. They clearly wan't to keep this 'trump card' so they can blackmail us with it again during the future trade negotiations and it MUST be withdrawn. If it is successfully removed we can then enter trade negotiations with the EU on an equal footing, without blackmail. An approval of the current agreement will only lead to a Labour Government under Jeremy Corbyn and a massive increase in political discontent among the British People. If Theresa May does lose the vote next week, and I certainly hope she does, we certainly do NOT need second referendum as the decision to LEAVE has already been taken.
- David H

Unfortunately Sarah is ignorant of her responsibilty as our representative in Parliament, it is not a playplace for her conscience. She was elected as a member of the Conservative party and she had a contract with us but she has undermined the party on whose back she was elected. Of course she is entitled to her views but should stand as an Independent !
- John

As matters in Parliament move at a pace the suggestion of a second referendum supported by Sarah has one major flaw. No one has put forward a credible suggestion as to what we would exactly be voting for . Mrs Mays deal is fatally flawed because of the backstop, No Deal we are told will be voted out as an option by Parliament . So Sarah please tell us realistically What ? will the question be on the Ballot paper. We have already voted on Leave or Remain. Leave won which you promised to honour in the last Conservative manifesto as did Labour. Time is running out. May I suggest you all get together to sort out a workable and fair Withdrawal Agreement and the Political Framework with the EU and get on with negotiating Brexit as you promised. Now is not the time for another vote
- Andrea

The problem with a second vote is we don't know what the question should be. I think the best solution now as the deal is certain to be rejected is to withdraw article 50. We can then have a proper debate without being under a very restricted time limit to plan where we go next. One thing is clear, article 50 was triggered and the negotiations were started before anyone had a coherent plan of what we wanted to achieve. Only when you know your preferred outcome can you start to negotiate. When we have a firm idea of what the possible outcomes are, then we can have another vote. Oh and next time let's have a tighter control on who is paying the campaign bills.
- Bob

The problem with a second vote is that we've already had one. Remainers are struggling to find ways to nullify the first result, supported by the dark establishment. The Scottish referendum result, Welsh devolution referendum with a 51% turnout won by 0.7%, voting system referendum result; all accepted without a murmer. The 2016 Referendum had over 70% turnout and won by 3.8%, there are over 40 MPs who won by a smaller margin, no call for a second vote. The reason, that's how a democracy has to work, you have to accept the result. Please take note Sarah !
- John

I live in your constituency and I fully support your position as we approach these critical few days for the future of our country. The democratic principle is crystal clear and the terms of Brexit should be put to the British people to decide whether to proceed on those terms or to keep the current deal we have as a member of the EU. Thank you Sarah!
- Tom

The fact that Sarah Wollaston has changed her mind on Brexit is not evidence that she is unprincipled, unless that principle be that it’s wrong ever to change your mind. Be wary of high principles in politics; they are often used to justify simplistic and uncharitable policies (left or right). I value kindness, compassion, and a willingness to compromise and to alter your views when the facts change or when you become better acquainted with them. I’ve seen that in bucket-loads in Sarah Wollaston. She is a fine MP. I’ve never been a Tory voter, but I might just change my mind if Sarah stands again. Keep up the good work, Sarah.
- Tim, South Milton

Patrick from Brixham said that Canada-plus-plus would “deliver the Brexit I and millions of others voted for”. That may be true, but the reasons for voting leave were many and varied. About a third of leave voters simply want to curb immigration (but many other leavers are unconcerned about levels of immigration); another large minority were attracted by the idea that we’d be richer outside the EU and were swayed by the promise of an extra £350m to spend on the NHS (while other more economically-savvy leave voters realised this was nonsense); some libertarians simply want to have complete control of our laws, come what may (but EU regulations do not particularly bother other leave voters); another group, especially in poorer areas, were fed up of eight years of austerity and falling living standards and thought Brexit might be a way out; others still were fed up of being ignored by the liberal elites, and were simply lashing out at those in power. Whatever reasons people had for voting leave or remain, what was not on the ballot paper was the form Brexit would take; Switzerland-, Norway- and Canada-style arrangements, as well as Brexit to WTO rules, were all mooted but none was settled on. No particular vision of Britain after Brexit was properly explained and agreed on - beyond the fairly meaningless but brilliant slogan ‘Take back control’. Furthermore, the referendum was advisory but the government chose to treat the result as a political mandate. This is important. I think it was a mistake and undemocratic, and should have been challenged then and still should be. If the referendum result had been clearer, it would probably have been fine. But the margin of victory was narrow, with only 37% of the whole electorate voting for Brexit, and a slightly smaller percentage voting against; if 500,000 people had voted differently, it would have gone the other way. The country is divided and there is no agreement on what form Brexit should take. We now all know far more about the implications of Brexit, good and bad. It is absolutely not undemocratic nor unconstitutional to call for a second referendum. In fact the idea was first proposed by none other than Jacob Rees-Mogg, who said in a speech in the Commons, “We could have two referendums, and it may make sense to have the second after the renegotiation is completed”, and also by Nigel Farage who, just before the 2016 referendum, said we should have a second referendum if the vote were very close. So, be sensible, stay calm, and be pragmatic; we British are very good at that (or used to be). Don’t shout and rant like IDS did today and threaten civil unrest. That is highly irresponsible and damaging to democracy. Democracy did not end on 23rd June 2016. Don’t be afraid of asking the people again. They are not stupid. If they are adamant that they want Brexit - whether that’s no deal or Theresa’s May’s deal - they will tell us. It should be perfectly possible to come with a fair question or set of questions that leaves all options on the table.
- Tim, South Milton

What would those questions be Tim especially as most MPs and Voters do not agree with Mrs Mays deal as it stands or crashing out with a No Deal. Plus we have to come up with something the EU will agree to and they say the negotiations are over. If there was an easy answer someone would have come up with it after 2 years How will a vote help. If we go back in it will not be business as usual everything has changed. You need something for Leavers to vote for. But of course you probably do not want that.
- Andrea

Good points, Andrea, except for your last little sneer. I do want something for leavers to vote for. I think that binary options (No deal vs May’s deal; Remain vs May’s deal; Remain vs No deal) are fraught with difficulty, but given that we voted to leave in 2016 and that May’s government has agreed a deal with the EU, then a choice between No deal and May’s deal would not be a travesty of democracy or justice. However, as you point out, no one seems to like either of those options; and recent polling suggests there is now a majority for Remain. So it isn’t ideal. We could have a two-stage vote in which we are asked to vote again on whether we want to leave or remain. If we decide to leave, then we have another vote where the choice could perhaps be May’s deal vs No deal. It isn’t easy, it needs debating, and we’d need constitutional experts and independent pollsters to come up with wording that was acceptable to most people. I think it’s possible though, and would lead to a result that was both democratic and binding.
- Tim, South Milton

Congratulations Sarah on your stance for a sensible future for the UK. It is clear that the PM's proposals can satisfy no one - we would be tied too closely to the EU for the hard Brexiteers and we would loose too much for those of us who voted to remain. The question should be put to the people to decide now that the real consequences of leaving the EU are known.
- Peter and Olga, Kellaton

Tim, South Milton - Nowhere did I advocate or suggest a Canada Plus deal or any other deal. The options in the referendum was crystal clear - Leave or Stay. The implications of leaving were spelt out clearly by our then Prime Minister, Chancellor and Head of the Bank of England. As you say, people voted for a variety of reasons but the important fact is that they voted to Leave - I would expect our Government to carry out this out. Any further referendum that gives the option of Remain raises deep questions about our democracy - especially one that carefully selects the question to ensure a 'Remain' answer such as the question proposed by Vince Cable amongst others.
- Patrick, Brixham

Apologies, Patrick. That was "David H" who said that, not you.
- Tim, South Milton

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