MPs want blame-free route out of this chaos
PUBLISHED: 17:02 20 November 2018 | UPDATED: 17:56 20 November 2018
A People's Vote is the only way out for MPs who are too afraid to vote with their conscience, says DAVID COLLINS.
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I have had a very interesting chat with my Labour MP about Brexit and the People’s Vote. His position is that although he did not campaign for it in the referendum, a near-60% Leave vote in our constituency means he must support the idea of Britain leaving the EU.
He agreed that Labour’s preferred option of a general election is unlikely and said he thought the next-best thing was for the government’s withdrawal agreement to be voted down in Parliament, leading to a People’s Vote with Remain as one of three options.
His rationale for this was that as the government’s deal was a “fudge” and its implementation would not result in the complete withdrawal of the UK from the EU, he could justifiably vote against it. He described a People’s Vote as a “win-win” for him and I was left thinking this meant he could still hold on to his belief, but not have to actually face the consequences of making it happen.
Does this chime with other MPs who are in a similar position? If so, the People’s Vote must be the only way out for them.
Why is Jeremy Corbyn contradicting most of his party and supporters by telling Der Spiegel “we can’t stop Brexit”?
Is he just playing the ‘wait and see’ game, as he has done before? Hoping that in the impasse the Tories find themselves, a People’s Vote somehow gets through? That way, admittedly, he would not have to alienate entrenched Labour Brexiters in marginal constituencies by openly promoting it now.
His worry could be that, by campaigning for Remain, he might lose Labour Leavers’ votes in the general election that he is dreaming of.
But aren’t the country’s interests more important?
Matt Kelly highlights that Labour’s Barry Gardiner and plenty of other MPs know Brexit is an act of economic self-harm but are determined to see it through because it was what the people voted for.
Sometimes the country’s needs are such that politicians like Gardiner need to accept that they have to put themselves on the line, regardless of the consequences for their own political careers. A bit like the Liberal Democrats going into coalition government with the Conservatives, when the country was crying out for political stability at a time of severe financial peril.
I am sure Lib Dem politicians knew there would be a price to pay and boy did they pay it. However it was the right decision.
If the 2016 referendum had been about the return of capital punishment, a popular demand, and the result was 52/48 in favour, would those opposed be now trooping through the parliamentary lobbies with the hangers and floggers to re-introduce hanging in 21st century Britain, with all the potential for miscarriages of justice and the inevitable execution of an innocent person? I think not.
Bob Hale, Portishead
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