Like you, I am incredibly concerned by how the Government has proceeded since the ‘leave’ vote – taking it as a mandate to embark on a reactionary, right-wing programme which has no legitimacy. This is because the question on the ballot paper was about whether to remain or leave the EU. Like my colleague Keir Starmer, I am pushing the Government to bring their proposals to the House and have MPs vote on them. They simply cannot proceed with such an important decision without any parliamentary scrutiny or votes. For a group of people who said they wanted to leave the EU to return sovereignty to Parliament, it seems absurd they then what to deny us the right to vote on their plans.
I believe it’s important that Parliament be allowed to hold the Government to account in relation to the terms negotiated. While it is clear there isn’t an appetite for a second referendum and that must be respected, the public may well feel that the realities of ‘Hard Brexit’ are so far removed from what the leave campaign promised them that those politicians must be held account for the promises they made to the British public.
A few skilled – and almost universally posh – politicians managed to dazzle the electorate with extortionate claims and promises, and they now need to be held accountable.
I spent so much time campaigning outside of Brighton and Hove, because Brighton and Hove as a generally tolerant city was securely ‘in’. I am so proud of how we voted. Once again we dared to be different.
Regarding what comes next, I am speaking frequently in the Commons to point out the gaping uncertainties we face and to offer the Prime Minister a way forward by allowing the House to debate the ‘terms’ by which the government will begin negotiations with the EU. This will be a key moment because we will be able to see for the first time what government believes is deliverable as opposed to the promises made by the Leave campaign.
If these terms are vastly different, then it is incumbent on Parliament to take action, to hold relevant people to account and gauge the mood of the country before allowing government to invoke ‘Article 50’ from which there is no return. I am working tirelessly on this and doing all I can to build support for this approach within the Labour Party and beyond. My worry is that we are currently embarking on a journey without knowing the destination, and this simply cannot be in the best interests of our community, country, or continent.