Write to your Member of Parliament/Welsh Assembly Member/Member of Scottish Parliament/Northern Ireland Member of Legislative Assembly
So we need to write to our representatives to urge them to work together to ensure the best result they can.
Our suggestions for requirements to send to your MP. These should apply whether you support Leave or Remain:
Article 50 must not be triggered unless we know we can choose to reverse it.
As far as we currently know, the process for leaving the EU, once started, cannot be stopped. This hands complete control of our Brexit deal to the EU. Hard Brexit or Soft Brexit, Red, White or Blue Brexit, all these are meaningless because it will be the other 27 states who will decide on the form of Brexit. There is currently a court case being brought in Ireland which would find out whether we can choose to stop the Brexit process once started. We must not invoke Article 50 until we know that we can stop it if we need to, otherwise we lose all negotiating power.
Article 50 must not be triggered until we have a detailed negotiating plan, costings and impact assessments for the possible forms of Brexit, including an Impact Assessment and a White Paper.
Unless we know what a Brexit deal is likely to cost, how can we know whether it is a price worth paying?
Parliament must not surrender control of when and how we leave the EU to the government.
If the government bring a bill to give itself control of the triggering of Article 50, it should be rejected.
Parliament must vote against any deal that results in “Hard Brexit” – leaving the single market and customs union.
The following articles show why leaving the single market would be damaging to the UK:
If you have a Conservative MP, you can also point out that they made a manifesto pledge to protect our membership of the single market, and that is a pledge for which they definitely have a mandate.
The referendum vote is not a mandate to destroy our society, union, or economy, our industry, science, or health service.
MPs must be empowered and prepared not to go through with it if the end result is likely to be harmful.
If you are a Remainer, and you have a Labour MP, you can also point out that the Labour party position pre-referendum was to remain in the EU, the majority of their members support remain, and they have no obligation to help the government take us over the cliff.
So please write to your MP and any representative in a devolved government you may also have. Impress on them the need for them to take a full part in the process, and that you expect them to do what is best for the country, including blocking any deal that harms us.
While the devolved governments do not have the ability to block Article 50 notification, Theresa May has promised that they will be fully consulted. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales will be as badly affected as anywhere else by the results of Brexit, so it is still very much worth your time to send a message to your representative(s) to tell them you expect them to do all in their power to ensure we do not pursue Brexit unless we can be confident it will not damage us.
We are under no obligation whatsoever to implement the referendum result. There is no clear message from the referendum. The people who voted Leave have differing objectives, so the government do not have a mandate to take any particular route.
The referendum was only advisory, and the Act which set it up made that clear. This has been debated a lot, but it remains a key point. There was deliberately no blueprint for what would actually happen if a majority voted leave. Other referendums have made clear what would happen if the voters gave a particular answer, but in the EU referendum what to do next was deliberately left undecided, because it was always intended to be only advisory. Amendments which would have required the vote to have a larger majority or to set out for the electorate exactly what would happen in the event of a Leave win, were rejected on the grounds that the bill was deliberately intended not to make the government do anything. We can’t now go back and convert the advice into a mandate, a requirement for action.
David Cameron pledged to “respect” the referendum result, but his government is no longer in power. The opposition parties are not duty-bound to follow his intention.
There is no agreement about what we should do next. Should we leave or stay in the single market? Should we reduce immigration or not? Ask ten different leave voters — ask ten different MPs, even — and you will get ten different answers.
There is no mandate for any form of action to be taken. The only mandate that covers our relationship with the EU is an explicit promise in the Conservative Party manifesto to safeguard our membership of the single market. We could fairly demand the government must keep to this pledge, but there is nothing else that binds either the government or the opposition parties.
The margin of victory in this referendum was very small, only 51.7% of people voting called for us to leave the EU. As the erstwhile leader of UKIP said himself before the vote, a 52% vote to remain would have been unfinished business. No constitutional change of this size can be justified on so small a margin.
There is good evidence that a lot of people who voted Leave have changed their minds, or originally voted in response to misleading claims. If the referendum were held now, or at the point when we leave the EU in 2–3 years’ time, the result could easily be reversed.
Unlike an election, the effect of this referendum is not easily reversible in a few years’ time, and we cannot just jump back into the EU if we change our minds later.
Nobody voted to be poorer.
What all this leads us to is that we need to decide how we are going to go about leaving the EU (if at all) and it’s not as simple as saying “right, we’re leaving.” In our view, the decisions on the deal to be made cannot be left to the government alone, not least because we didn’t vote for the government we currently have, but also because they are plotting a course that the Leave campaign promised would never happen. The only democratic approach is for our elected representatives — our MPs — to shape the deal to be made, and to have the power to stop the process if we can see that it is not going to leave us better off.