Friday, 1 March 2019

Friday, 1 March 2019

Second referendum looks like the only solution to parliament stalemate

The Prime Minister will come back to the Commons with another tinkered with withdrawal agreement, changing a word here, re-phrasing a sentence there but essentially the same deal as before. If that gets knocked back by MPs once again, she will ask Parliament to approve or reject leaving with no deal. That will almost certainly get rejected, so then we go to her third vote in the sequence, to approve asking the EU for an extension to the Article 50 leaving date of March 29. However, with the EU not prepared to negotiate a new deal what is the point of extending the leaving date unless it is to seek another outcome.

Mrs May said there are three choices: Leave with a deal, leave with no deal or no Brexit. If Parliament rules out the first two then the only option remaining is the third.

If there is to be an extension to the leaving date and Parliament has exhausted its options, it can only be for the purpose of giving the people another say. That will no doubt cause uproar among the hardened leave supporters who say we made our decision and we should stick to it. Get on with leaving. But what is wrong with asking people, almost three years later, if they still feel the same? The situation has changed. We are no longer bombarded with jingoistic slogans from Boris Johnson and Co.

The arguments have moved way beyond Nigel Farage, UKIP and their mistrust of foreigners. The warnings that were dismissed with a snort about huge firms leaving the UK are coming to pass. Multi-national companies who are closing facilities, moving operations, shifting assets and cutting jobs as a result of Brexit has grown ever since the vote in June 2016. Nissan, Jaguar and Honda in the car industry. Airbus in aviation engineering, Barclays and Goldman Sachs in finance, Panasonic and Philips in electronics. Even Dyson, whose boss was a strong campaigner to leave, is off to Singapore. The NHS is facing staff shortages that will last longer than the short-term worries over medicines and supplies.

So why would anyone want to deny people the opportunity to re-think their decision, unless it because you are worried they have seen through the lies and want to change their mind.

Trust in and respect for parliament would be lost and never recovered we are told. There’s not much trust and respect there at the moment if we are being honest.

The people have spoken and Parliament should get on with it we are told.

MPs are not there simply to do as they are told. They are representatives and if they think the country is making a mistake they have a responsibility to say so. MPs are not delegates, simply carrying out instructions from their constituents, they have a far greater responsibility than that.

Article by Stewart Paterson

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