Anti-Brexit parliamentarians are massively damaging trust in the democratic process

You might not still be able to hear it, as a noisy two years of wrangling reaches fever pitch, but the central idea behind Brexit remains very simple: to make Britain’s economy and its political system properly accountable by winning the country’s independence from remote, top-heavy European Union institutions designed to further the unpopular and […]

The post Anti-Brexit parliamentarians are massively damaging trust in the democratic process appeared first on BrexitCentral.

You might not still be able to hear it, as a noisy two years of wrangling reaches fever pitch, but the central idea behind Brexit remains very simple: to make Britain’s economy and its political system properly accountable by winning the country’s independence from remote, top-heavy European Union institutions designed to further the unpopular and unrealistic project of ‘ever closer union’.

The idea of democratic accountability has always been at the heart of Brexit. Fundamentally, it was why the electorate voted to Leave in 2016; it was why MPs – both Leave- and Remain-backers – overwhelmingly voted to trigger Article 50 in 2017; and yet, it is what 415 Remain-inclined MPs decided to frustrate last Thursday night. 

With Brexit having effectively been delayed – providing the law is changed and the EU agree to an extension – it is now clear that in order for the country to win its independence from the European Union, it first has to win it from Parliament itself. The terrible irony in this is that Brexit, by definition, is not anti-parliamentary. In fact, quite the reverse.

As an objection to the imbalance of power between the UK Parliament and distant EU institutions whose accountability to the British public is dubious at best, Brexit has always been about increasing the power of UK law-makers over UK affairs – borders, money, business regulations, international trade and fisheries – and, consequently, increasing the power of the electorate over their representatives who make the laws which affect their lives. This is nothing more than should be expected from a healthy representative democracy.

On the other side, there were those who believed this level of responsibility and self-government to be above Britain. The real anti-parliamentary figures are these parliamentarians. By rubbishing the law they passed which still mandates that the UK leave the European Union on 29th March – with or without a deal – the majority of MPs (being Remainers) have refused to satisfy the result of the EU referendum, in which the majority of the public instructed them to re-empower Parliament.

If we are to learn from recent history, it is clear anti-parliamentary, anti-democratic activity only produces more of the same, on both the governmental and the popular level. On the continent, the result of lofty governance by europhiles in France, Germany, Italy and Greece, to name the most prominent examples, has been to produce a growing populist backlash which the establishment has either struggled or simply failed to contain. Yet too often the response of the establishment on the continent is ‘more Europe’, and accordingly, the response of the insurgents is ‘more populism’.  

They are clearly not listening to each other, just as the Government in Britain is not really listening to the British public. At Get Britain Out, we and our supporters have done our best to frequently communicate with both the Prime Minister and MPs of all parties, but it seems to have made little difference. In the summer of last year, we hand-delivered a letter of concern about the Chequers Proposal to the Prime Minister at 10 Downing Street, formally countersigned by more than 50,000 of our supporters. It was not even acknowledged by the Prime Minister, but simply ignored – i.e. the concerns of more than 50,000 voters were just disregarded!

The Prime Minister may have stated recently that she is carrying out the wishes of the people at the EU referendum, but she is not; all she is attempting to do by these repeated votes in the House of Commons is to attempt to force her Withdrawal Agreement through Parliament, and it demonstrates that Mrs May is not listening to the people. 

It may be going too far to suggest that Britain should brace itself for an equal share in continental Europe’s social and political dislocation. But one of the explanations for Brexit is that Britain’s history has given its people more faith in its own institutions than has the history of our continental neighbours. Accordingly, Britons are no longer willing to surrender sovereignty to a supranational organisation with which the majority do not identify in the first place.

Nevertheless, this very faith is now being sorely tested, and some form of Brexit backlash will be felt in Britain. The sabotage of Brexit by a majority-Remain arrogant Parliament in a majority-Leave country – especially considering the number of Remain voters who now wish to see the result of the referendum implemented – will do massive damage to trust in Britain’s democracy.

The question remains as to how this damage will manifest itself politically. The UK will now almost certainly have to participate in the European Parliament elections this May. Just as UKIP did in 2014, Nigel Farage’s new Brexit Party, formed to give British voters a democratic means of getting their own back, looks poised to sweep the board.

What we know for sure, however, is that the lowering of parliamentary and democratic currency in Britain will not be the fault of Brexit, but of the europhiles within Parliament. The only way to increase its value again is to Get Britain Out of the EU. After all, this was the point of Brexit in the first place.

The post Anti-Brexit parliamentarians are massively damaging trust in the democratic process appeared first on BrexitCentral.

A WTO No Deal Brexit is now the only way to honour the referendum result

As Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s attempts to procure a legally-binding change to the backstop appear to have proven futile, the last hope for Theresa May’s deal is slipping away. Reportedly, the Cabinet already anticipates another crushing Commons defeat when the vote is held tomorrow. As with the earlier vote in January, the Prime Minister will be outflanked […]

The post A WTO No Deal Brexit is now the only way to honour the referendum result appeared first on BrexitCentral.

As Attorney General Geoffrey Cox’s attempts to procure a legally-binding change to the backstop appear to have proven futile, the last hope for Theresa May’s deal is slipping away. Reportedly, the Cabinet already anticipates another crushing Commons defeat when the vote is held tomorrow.

As with the earlier vote in January, the Prime Minister will be outflanked on both sides. Firstly, by Remainers of all stripes who seek to press home the huge advantage May ceded to them: following the rejection of her deal, in two subsequent votes, these MPs will be able to rule out a No Deal with World Trade Organisation rules, and then seek an extension to Article 50 in the hope of bringing about a second referendum.

On the other hand, the eurosceptic Conservatives of the European Research Group, led by Jacob-Rees Mogg, have made it abundantly clear they will not vote for the Withdrawal Agreement without real movement on the backstop. In line with their ‘three tests’, the ERG rightly demands a temporary arrangement from which Britain could unilaterally exit, replacing the potentially indefinite one which would turn Britain into a vassal state. Geoffrey Cox, however, is getting nowhere fast; and for the second time, May’s deal seems doomed. 

In terms of leverage over her divided party, May can no longer use the threat of No Deal to bring Tory Remainers round to her deal, after sanctioning the 13th March vote – however hard she tries. Clearly, the Government still thinks it can use the opposite threat of ‘No Brexit’, or ‘No real Brexit’, to whip the troublesome eurosceptics into line. Accordingly, the Prime Minister used her speech in Grimsby on Friday to frame her deal as the last chance for the ERG – and Brexiteers – to get something resembling what they want.

Another key player, Philip Hammond – the anti-Brexit Chancellor, as Get Britain Out has previously written about here – could hardly have been clearer about this when he warned last week:

“For those people who are passionate about ensuring that we leave the European Union on time, [the prospect of a vote to delay Brexit] surely must be something that they need to think very, very carefully about now because they run the risk of us moving away from their preferred course of action if we don’t get this deal through.”

Rightly however, the ERG are showing resolve in the face of this tactical threat. Jacob Rees-Mogg argued last week that even if her deal is rejected and MPs vote for an extension to Article 50, these votes are not legally binding. It still remains in the power of the Government to deliver Brexit on time given ‘votes in the House of Commons cannot override the law’. May could choose not to request the extension from the European Union. It is therefore possible to oppose both the current deal and the efforts to delay the satisfaction of the referendum result beyond 29th March.

Despite the tumult of the past few weeks, we must not forget that in law, following the passing of Article 50, the UK is set to leave the EU on 29th March – with or without a deal. If May is truly determined to deliver Brexit on the 29th, then there is a clear and legal route for her to do so following the likely defeat of her deal.

A WTO No Deal Brexit would ensure Britain leaves the European Union on time, in accordance with Article 50. Yet pursuing this course would not merely be an exercise in damage-limitation. The course remains attractive in and of itself. The economic case for No Deal has been made by Get Britain Out here and here.

What’s more, a WTO No Deal Brexit would firstly deliver on most of the Leave platform and, secondly, present major improvements to the Prime Minister’s deservedly unpopular deal.

Firstly, the repatriation of control over laws, money, borders and fisheries would be secured by a WTO No Deal Brexit. Only a free trade deal with the EU would be missing. On the other hand, precisely such a trade deal with the EU27 would become more likely in the event of No Deal. It has proven so elusive during the negotiations because Britain’s bargaining power has been continually squandered by the Government, ably assisted by the Labour Party.

Jeremy Corbyn has not only come out in favour of a second referendum, but has long advocated Customs Union membership post-Brexit. Whether it is attempting to tie the UK to EU regulatory standards indefinitely, or reverse Brexit completely, such measures can only have given succour to all those on the continent who have never taken Britain’s decision to Leave seriously.

However, if Britain simply Leaves the EU on 29th March, and pursues the radical free trade programme of tariff cuts on up to 90% of imported goods – as leaked from Liam Fox’s Department for International Trade last week – we could call the EU’s bluff by daring to prosper outside its institutions.

Under this ‘hard but smart’ Brexit, as recommended by the IFO Institute in Germany – one of the leading economic research institutes in Europe and regularly quoted in the German media – costs for consumers and businesses would be cut whilst Britain’s negotiating hand would be strengthened. So far, the Government’s unwillingness to present No Deal as a viable option has tied its hands in Brussels. Ironically, this lack of belief in Brexit has made by a WTO No Deal Brexit more likely.

Secondly, the significant advantages of a WTO No Deal Brexit over May’s Deal must not be overlooked, although Geoffrey Cox’s failure to secure a meaningful alteration to the backstop so far will be seen as the central reason for the Government’s likely defeat in Parliament on Tuesday. We should remember the backstop – absolutely unacceptable though it is – was never the only problem with the deal, as Get Britain Out has documented in full here.

As Sir John Redwood has recently made clear in an open letter to Geoffrey Cox, the proposed ‘transition’ period of up to 45 months marked out in the Withdrawal Agreement would turn Britain into a rule-taker with no power of reply.

This would be a fundamental challenge to Britain’s independence. The wide-ranging nature of this threat encompasses everything from business regulations and trading relationships to taxation. Moreover, the UK taxpayer would be paying at least £39 billion for the privilege.

On the other hand, a WTO No Deal Brexit would save Britain from this unnecessary expenditure, which could be better spent on domestic priorities. This Brexit dividend would also include the money saved following the immediate cessation of budget contributions to the EU. Under May’s deal these would continue.

Provided Cox was successful in his renegotiation of the backstop, leading eurosceptics were prepared to accept May’s deal. Rees-Mogg was prepared to back it because if the backstop became time-limited, and Britain could unilaterally leave the EU if no trade deal was struck during the transition, then all the above problems with May’s deal would be time-limited too.  

A spirit of compromise was in the air. A willingness not to make the best the enemy of the good. Now a legal change to the backstop seems impossible – and tomorrow, barring some cosmetic alterations – exactly the same deal which was rejected by an historic 230 votes in January will, in all likelihood, be put to Parliament again.

Eurosceptics must not make a very bad deal the enemy of the best deal now available. Let’s Get Britain Out with a WTO No Deal Brexit on 29th March.

The post A WTO No Deal Brexit is now the only way to honour the referendum result appeared first on BrexitCentral.