Parliament is sovereign – but will it get a truly meaningful say?

In the British system of representative democracy, sovereignty lies with parliament, which means that MPs should have the final say on important matters of politics. 

This is why all friends of British democracy should welcome yesterday’s vote to amend clause 9 of the European Union Withdrawal Bill.  The passing of amendment 7 was a victory for parliamentary democracy, and marks an important first step by parliament to reassert its sovereignty and retake control of the important choices that this country has to make in the coming year.

But the passed amendment does not go far enough. While it will give MPs the choice of accepting or rejecting whatever the deal that the government may be able to secure, it does not yet offer MPs a truly meaningful say.

MPs are charged with acting in the interest of the country and their constituents, and for that reason they should be allowed to evaluate all the possible options for our future relationship with the EU.

To have a truly meaningful vote, MPs must also be given the choice of  voting to remain in the European Union. Help them take back control by signing this petition:


It’s NOT Dover & Out!

The fact that Article 50 was submitted this week does not mean it’s “Dover & Out” as a headline from The Sun stated. The submission of Article 50 is just a formal notification of the UK’s intention to withdraw from the EU, and while the government had to seek parliamentary approval via a Bill with royal assent to submit the declaration, it does not need anyone’s permission to change its mind.

Article 50 symbolizes nothing more than the beginning of the Brexit negotiations, of what will likely be a long and painful, but ultimately unsuccessful attempt of trying to extract the UK from the European Union. It will not succeed because the challenges are too complex at too many levels and because the cost are too high.

It will fail because the negotiations will bring reality to the table – the reality that we are living in an inter-connected world of shared rules, and that leaving the EU means giving up control, not to the EU but to the mercenary rules of the WTO which will prevent the EU and UK from reaching a good deal no matter how much goodwill there is on both sides.

The problems brought up by the negotiations and the Great Repeal Bill will also expose the reality that Britain’s EU membership fee goes to agencies and projects that are very important to the country. In the past few weeks we have seen that leaving EURATOM and EUROPOL will create problems that may be impossible to resolve no matter how much money is thrown at them, and they were never discussed prior to the referendum. How can leaving a nuclear safety treaty and stopping anti-terrorism cooperation mean taking back control?

Ultimately Brexit will fail is because there will come a point when the people have had enough. As prices rise and truths are revealed, more and more people are coming together to oppose the destructive forces of Brexit and celebrate the European part of their identity. In all counties across the UK, local pro-European groups are forming themselves to assert their views. In Kent alone, there are over 15. The pro-European voices of this country are waking up and will remoan for a long as is necessary to remain within the EU.

The Challenges for the Great Repeal Bill – New Commons Briefing Paper

Disentangling the UK from over 40 years EU legislation is a huge task that will take years to complete. To overcome this problem, the government is drafting the “Great Repeal Bill”, which will try to simply convert EU laws into domestic legislation, before asking parliament to repeal the 1972 European Communities Act.

Simple as it sounds, there are some tricky legal issues that need to be taken into account. These are descried in a new briefing paper for the House of Commons, a summary of which can be found on the parliament website, as well as a link to the full report (pdf file).