OPINION: D-Day For Brexit
I think today is the most significant moment in the Brexit process since June 23rd 2016. Today, the Commons will vote on the ‘meaningful vote’ amendment having had it passed back to them by the Lords on Monday. This amendment is a joke. Three years ago, on June 9th 2015, Parliament voted by 544 votes to 53 to give the British people a referendum on whether they wished to remain as members of the European Union.
On June 23rd, 2016, 17,410,742 people voted to leave the EU and 16,141,241 voted to Remain – a majority of over 1 million votes and more than 30 million voters participated. True, Parliament craftily made the referendum ‘non-binding’ before it asked the people the question but the core principals of representative democracy are binding – we, the people, clearly instructed our representatives that we wished to leave the European Union. Brexit was born.
As if that wasn’t enough, in the subsequent General Election in 2017 both main political parties, blue and red, stood on clear manifesto commitments to deliver the Brexit people had already voted for. 582 out of 650 seats went to these Parties, votes and trust given to them to deliver Brexit, which accounts for 89% of the seats in Parliament – once again the settled will of the majority was clearly expressed.
However, now, Parliament is attempting to launch a counter-coup, having had its ‘meaningful vote’, on the EU Referendum Bill, and received its instructions in the referendum it is attempting to assert itself as lord and master over the people it was intended to represent. No amount of pontificating by the likes of Dominic Grieve can conceal the true nature of their agenda which is to lead a coup against the settled will of the majority of the British people and in so doing destroy the very essence of how a representative democracy is supposed to function. If Mr Grieve is successful then, in the long run, he will set in motion a chain of events which in shattering the peoples’ trust will also destroy the illusion for many that we do live in a democracy – they in their actions will prove conclusively that the game is a fix, the house always wins no matter which way people vote, it is the potential ramifications of this that should wake Mr Grieve up in cold sweats at 2am.
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Mr Grieve should not be underestimated. The last time Mrs May was humbled in the Commons regarding Brexit was regarding a legal guarantee of a vote for Parliament on the final deal. Today’s vote is on an interlinked issue, whether that vote will have meaning. So, the form book is actually against Mrs May. However, her saviour may prove to be, somewhat ironically, Mr Grieve himself. His ill-advised comments that Tory rebels could ‘bring the government down’ may just scare enough Tory MPs back into the government lobby for Mrs May to carry the day and for her to breath a sigh of relief, for one day at least.