Forget the Daily Mail: Four reasons MPs should have a proper say on Brexit

Majority of public back parliamentary scrutiny - including Leave voters


With MPs continuing to demand a greater say ahead of the government triggering Article 50, hard Brexiters (and the Daily Mail) are up in arms about “unpatriotic Bremoaners”.

Here are some reasons why MPs should be given a proper debate and a vote:

  1. Because the Brexiteers need to be properly held to account, with a day of reckoning, for the fraud that was that promise on NHS spending.

For those who campaigned for Brexit, immigration was at the heart of everything and must, they argue, trump everything else. If that was really the case, why did immigration not feature once on the Vote Leave’s now infamous red battle bus?

What was instead written was clear: ‘We send the EU £350 million a week. Let’s fund our NHS instead.’

Following the news Theresa May will not provide any extra cash to the health service, this fraudulent statement has been proven to be just that.

Yeah sure, the likes of Nigel Farage and Ian Duncan-Smith have since argued that they did not agree with the statement on the bus. But if that’s the way they felt, why did they not have the integrity and the honesty to say so during the campaign itself?

  1. Because the country did not vote for economic self-harm.

Whatever the siren voices of the Brexiteers might say, the country did not vote to become poorer. Yes, concerns were expressed about immigration which must be addressed, but this cannot come at the expensive of sacrificing people’s jobs on the altar of a hard Brexit.

ComRes poll for the Independent on Sunday and the Sunday Mirror over the weekend found that at 49 per cent of people in the UK ‘are more likely to say that the government should prioritise getting favourable trade deals with EU countries when negotiating the UK’s exit from the EU than think it should prioritise reducing immigration’ (39 per cent).

Polling commissioned by Open Britain and conducted by Benenson Strategy Group has found that 59 per cent of people supporting staying in the single market, contrary to the views expressed by the hard Brexiters.

Let’s not forget what our esteemed Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson noted in his pro-EU article, leaked over the weekend: ‘Britain’, he declared, ‘is a great nation, a global force for good. It is surely a boon for the world and for Europe that she should be intimately engaged in the EU. This is a market on our doorstep, ready for further exploitation by British firms: the membership fee seems rather small for all that access.’

And what did the manifesto upon which every Conservative MP was elected say? ‘We say: yes to the Single Market.’

  1. Because the arguments about parliament not having a say are complete nonsense.

Ministers continue to peddle the argument that they will not provide all the details of their negotiating position. That’s perfectly legitimate. Issues however about whether we will remain in the single market or not are more than just ‘details’.

They are fundamental economic decisions that will affect the future of the country for generations to come. Parliament being excluding from deciding the UK’s position on such major issues is frankly absurd.

Theresa May agreed as much in 2008 when, as Shadow Leader of the House of Commons, she declared:

“We should have a statutory scrutiny reserve so that ministers would have to gain parliamentary approval before negotiations in the Council of Ministers.

The scrutiny reserve should be put on a statutory basis so that ministers are required to come to the committee before negotiations at the European Council and cannot override it.”

Similarly, just days before being appointed to the role, Brexit Secretary David Davis used an article for ConservativeHome to call for a ‘pre-negotiation White Paper’ on the UK’s options for trading arrangements with the EU post-Brexit. We await this White Paper with baited breath.

What is more, the polling for Open Britain has found extensive support among the public for parliament having a greater say in the country’s negotiating strategy with the EU.

With those who were ‘not sure’ removed, 73 per cent of those question agreed with the statement that the government should ‘set out what it is aiming to achieve in negotiations with the EU ahead of the start of formal negotiations so that they can get parliament and the public’s approval for their plan’.

Just 27 per cent disagreed with this. Interestingly, 49 per cent of those who voted to leave the EU agreed with this (compared to 33 per cent who disagreed and 18 per cent who were not sure).

UKIP voters were also the most enthusiastic backers of proper engagement with parliament, supporting the idea by 62 per cent to 20 per cent.

  1. Because sometimes people do change their minds.

According to data completed by the respected British Election Study, six per cent of those who voted to leave the EU now regret doing so – a larger margin than won the referendum for Brexit.

And what did David Davis say in a speech to mark the 40th anniversary of the UK’s entry into the Common Market? He declared, ‘if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’. Well said!

Ed Jacobs is a contributing editor to Left Foot Forward


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5 Responses to “Forget the Daily Mail: Four reasons MPs should have a proper say on Brexit”

  1. Andrew Stockley

    Rubbish MPs voted that would respect the referendum result David Cameron told brexit MPs to except referendum result when polls had leave in front all this is remain mps make up majority so is there way stoping democratic result move on we voted leave respect the people

  2. Fred

    What amuses me about the contributors and editors of this site is the absolute certainty with which they state their views. Each contributor, without question, can identify all of problems facing the country and knows exactly how to solve them.

    And yet, when we examine the backgrounds of the contributors we find the following. They’re aged in their mid-twenties. They recently left university. They have degrees in non-numerate disciplines like English, Politics, Sociology, etc. They have very little experience of work. They’ve never worked in business. They’ve never worked in the public sector. They’ve never managed people. They’ve never held any positions of responsibility. As far as I can tell all they have ever done is two or three years as ‘freelance journalists’ or ‘political bloggers’.

    And yet somehow, at this young age, with hardly any life-experience or relevant backgrounds or qualifications, they know how to solve intractable social problems, they know exactly what economic policy the country needs. In fact, they know about economics, health care, education, crime, foreign policy, immigration.

    Yes, I mean you Ed Jacobs. And you Adam Barnett. And you Niamh Ní Mhaoileoin.

    It’s just silly. How can anyone with your age and lack of experience really expect to have their views taken seriously?

    Are these kids really the best that the Left can produce for this site? Is there really no-one with any more gravitas? I suppose we can only conclude that no, there isn’t.

  3. CR

    The people voted to leave the EU.

    Leaving the EU means leaving all the institutions and processes of the EU. Nothing more nor less.

  4. Craig Mackay

    I rather think that the best strategy is to leave the right-wing government and their three foolish Brexit ministers to come up with policies which are guaranteed to damage the economy and leave most of the people in the country worse off. If public opinion polls then come out fairly strongly against these policies it will then be much easier to push to reconsider the whole Brexit nonsense, with a proper debate and a proper decision made by Parliament and the MPs who were elected to run the country. It is also essential that the narrative of this massive public opinion win for Brexit is resisted.The actual win was only about 1.3 million out of 30 million. What has become clear is that the lies told by the Brexiteers really were lies and in many of the promises are simply not going to be fulfilled. The right-wing media are trumpeting the fabulous future of Brexit. Soon we will see that it is very far from fabulous. Allowing the UK to dig a deep, deep hole for itself economically and socially will be an irresponsibility that will be so difficult to explain to our children and grandchildren.

  5. ted francis

    Oh dear Fred, have you stubbed your toe on this one.
    I am a metronomically frequent contributor to this site, so let’s see if I fit to your description.
    I started work having left school. Was both an employee and an employer in public and private sectors. As a freelance I bread-won for a wife and four children; you know, food in the belly, clothes on the back, roof overhead, all that sort of stuff. I had experience of over 35 different societies and cultures across four continents (not as a tourist). I survived a World War and two civil wars.
    I don’t think I fit your broad brush-stroke demographic, do you?
    There’s more…..
    My father was a fierce and dedicated flat-cap socialist as a result of experiences in the 20’s and 30’s, “…no man, son, can earn a million in a lifetime unless he over-charges for his product or underpays his workers – or both…”. As a result of his continual preaching I had no interest in politics, abstained from voting in rejection. The 60’s were fun, the 70’s not so and then I thought ah here comes a woman, surely feminine logic can make things better for the people of this country. I’ll vote! Boy did I get that wrong.
    Over the years I have seen electorates gulled by plausible lies and obfuscation from politicians of all stripes. I am sceptical and distrustful to the point of cynicism but I have to tell you Fred, the lengths to which the Leavers went left my gob totally smacked.
    Based on my knowledge, my experience and my instincts, leaving the European Union would be a cataclysmic error for us, our children, our grandchildren and indeed the world. I say that free of any ideological consideration.
    I don’t know about gravitas, Fred. I only what has been made glaringly and sometimes painfully obvious by common sense and history….. and you know what has been said about ignoring it.

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