12 SEP 2019

Brexit

Like so many people, I'm deeply worried about the violence of language and behaviour that has become so common in our politics. As this becomes ever more divisive and with both main parties drifting to their extremes, I'm very glad to have joined the growing band of Liberal Democrats in the moderate, progressive centre ground.

I gave a clear commitment at the time of joining the Lib Dems that I would vote for a general election so that you can decide if you would rather be represented by an MP from a different political party. I have kept that promise but the government did not reach the two thirds majority required to trigger an election. It is very likely that this will only mean a short delay as the PM has lost his majority and excluded 21 of his moderate Conservative colleagues.

Following the vote, the Prime Minister decided to shut down Parliament for five weeks, cutting off all the opportunities for MPs to hold him to account. I deeply regret the fact that he is running from scrutiny and we are even hearing that he may decide not to obey the law.

I have tried to do everything I can to flag up the serious risks of a No Deal Brexit. I think it is really important to make sure that everyone can have a say on the final arrangements. I think it would best for that to be through a People's Vote, but if that is ruled out by the PM and we have a general election, the Liberal Democrats will be campaigning unequivocally to stop Brexit.

12 comments

Since the rejection of the result to the referendum by parliament it has shown just how anti democratic they are. This has caused great concern to the people who belieced the result would be accepted. The falling standards are due to this betrayal of the people.
- Johnny Norfolk

I reject this comment for three reasons. Firstly, the commenter doesn't understand the nature of parliamentary democracy, where we elect MP's to use their own good judgment on our behalf. Dr Wollaston, and other MPs who are aware just how serious No deal would be, are therefore not antidemocratic. Secondly, the commenter confuses those who voted to Leave (52%) with the whole of the nation, and therefore misuses the word "people." Thirdly,I object to the use of the word "betrayal." Such a word, with its suggestion of retribution, is inappropriate in a democracy. Have those of us who voted to Remain betrayed the nation?
- Robert Lawson-Peebles

The only party drifting to the extreme is the Non-Liberal Non-Democrats. The people voted overwhelmingly in the largest referendum ever held in the UK to leave the Federal Superstate. Please adhere to our democratic principles.
- Jean Genie Totnes

Leave now and start rebuilding our country together. Politicians with in fighting and party politics have prevented any progress in the country ifor 3 very long years. If they had been contracted to deliver this by a private employer and after 3 years had made no progress the board would be held accountable and fired.... Give the country a general election now and allow us to do just that. Not wait until it suits them to play more games.
- Margaret Henderson

Totnes and Torbay voted to leave the EU, and both of their democratically elected representatives voted for Article 50. Then they reneged, adopted the LD position of 'Bollocks to Brexit' (an example of non-divisive language, presumably), and in one case compared betraying their constituents with 'casting off a dirty raincoat'. So keep the hysteria going, try to make accurate criticism 'unacceptable', or else call an election and give your constituents a chance to elect someone who believes in their own manifesto.
- Jim Brodie - Totnes

I must disagree with the three posters above. 1: 52% of those voting in the Referendum to Leave is hardly an "overwhelming" majority. It is a misuse of the word "the people" to suggest that 17.4 million who voted Leave represent a population of over 60 million. 2: To continue to debate the most serious issue in the future of the nation since WWII is hardly "game playing." 3: I think Dr Wollaston shows great courage in changing her mind, and her carefully argued post can hardly be called "hysteria." It is Alexander Johnson, familiarly known as "Boris," who is stoking the fires of hysteria, and turning the Conservative Party into a Brexit Party.
- Robert Lawson-Peebles

Under our democratic system it's first past the post wins, with losers going along with the result. Yes, there could be better methods but until then that's what we must live with. Doesn't 'playing the game' mean anything any more, how many sore losers are there out there or is it just a few spoilt individuals ?
- John

John's comment above helpfully shows that general elections and referenda are both subject to the "first past the post" system. With general elections, people are given the opportunity every few years to change their mind about those who govern them. So why shouldn't it happen with referenda? A democracy is succeeded by a dictatorship when people are not given further opportunities to vote. Germany in the early 1930s is a case in point.
- Robert Lawson-Peebles

Sarah. You stood in front of a packed audience in Stokenham Parish Hall in October 2016. You stated to our faces that whilst you had voted to Remain, you would respect the outcome of the referendum and work for a good Brexit. You have lied to the electorate who voted you in as MP. If you had one shred of honour you would resign your seat and stand for re-election on a LibDem manifesto.
- David Kerr

Robert. Agreed, there's no reason not have another Referendum in a few years if the electorate seek it !
- John

The behaviour of MPs in Parliament today nails the lie that remain supporting MPs are only fighting against a no deal Brexit. They could have voted for a fair and equitable deal today (Saturday) but yet again they have used parliamentary procedure to avoid voting for a satisfactory deal. Their ongoing betrayal of 17.4 million voters has been laid bare - they are engaged in a campaign designed to thwart the democratically expressed will of the people. They will never be forgiven for this and neither should they be. In addition to leaving the EU this country is in need of root and branch reform of the political system as it is no longer fit for purpose. What an appalling day for democracy!
- David H

When we joined the EU , the voters who voted not to join had no say after ! The same applies now , The Remain vote LOST now get on with leaving !! The outcome of leaving is not important, its about democracy !
- Adam L

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