Brexit Bill Debate Day One

Perhaps not surprisingly, since the referendum result last year the number one topic which has dominated debates in Parliament has been the effect of the result and what our future relationship with the European Union will be.However, all these debates have been general in nature, today we have the first day of debate on the Bill which will give the Prime Minister formal authority from Parliament to invoke Article 50 of the European Treaty and give notice that in two years we will be leaving the European Union. One might think that given the clear result of the referendum all MP’s would be voting to respect the wishes of the British people. Sadly not. Many MP’s it appears will be taking the view that they know better than the people. I can see why some who represent constituencies who voted overwhelmingly to remain may feel they should oppose the Bill but to do so is a denial of democracy to the majority of the Country who voted to Leave. Unusually for a Second Reading debate it is scheduled to last not one but two days and today is really the equivalent of two days itself as the House will continue sitting until midnight providing another five hours of debate broadly the equivalent of a further days debate.

5 thoughts on “Brexit Bill Debate Day One

  1. I am somewhat bemused by your feeling that the House of Commons should vote 100% in favour of Brexit ‘to respect the wishes of the British people’.
    The problem is that Brexit was not the wish of the Scottish people, the Northern Irish people and the people in numerous constituencies up and down the land who had a majority in favour on voting to Remain.
    A clear example is the constituency of Richmond Park in London , where at a parliamentary by-election, following the referendum, a candidate was elected having specifically told the residents that if elected she would vote to Remain if and when the opportunity arose. She beat a pro-Brexit candidate with this pledge.
    I cannot believe that you are arguing that the correct thing for that new MP to do is to ignore her pledge to the people of Richmond and vote to to trigger Article 50. How democratic would that be ?
    And the same argument applies to those MP’s whose constituencies, in Scotland, and elsewhere, voted with a majority for Remain at the referendum.
    If the House of Commons is properly representative of the people then the outcome of the vote on triggering Article 50 should be similar to the 52-48 referendum result.
    John Redwood has just urged MPs to vote to make parliament sovereign, as the people have urged them to do. A parliament is not sovereign if members do not have have the ability to represent their constituents, voting as their conscience and judgement demands, and not simply act as a delegate mandated to carry out the wishes of their constituents to whom they must hold their main allegiance. MP’s must also retain the right to sometimes vote with their conscience, even if this does not coincide with the known views of constituents. That is a judgement they are elected to make.
    It would be a travesty if the Commons voted against Brexit – it would be an equal travesty if the views of Remain voters were not registered in the balance of the voting.

    • I think it depends on the attitude the MP had to the referendum in the first place. I can completely understand why the new MP for Richmond Park may wish to vote against triggering Article 50 as she was elected after the referendum and on a clear platform to oppose leaving the EU. Most Conservative MP’s were elected on the basis of a manifesto which committed to holding a referendum and being bound by the result.

      • But why did you say that
        ‘One might think that given the clear result of the referendum all MP’s would be voting to respect the wishes of the British people. Sadly not’.
        You have just contradicted that in your reply !!

      • And the Manifesto also said (page 72) ‘We are clear about what we want from Europe – We say Yes to the Single Market’.

        Is that still your commitment ?

  2. Thank you for attending – I/we heard your last minute (literally) contribution at midnight. Brevity – succinct eveni.e get on with it! To those who are plotting perhaps a delaying tactic in the belief that the brexiters will change their minds, hmm an old saying comes to mind ‘many a slip between cup and lip’ (which applies to us brexiters as well). Thanks

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