If parliament cannot decide on Brexit, then the people must

Editorial: Sir Oliver Letwin is right to say that this is where he and those who oppose the PM’s deal must part company, but we do so praising him for his public service

Saturday 19 October 2019 20:19
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Final Say march: Do you feel more optimistic or less optimistic about our future since Boris Johnson announced his deal?

The House of Commons voted yesterday to “withhold approval” of Boris Johnson’s Brexit deal. The throng in Parliament Square cheered the news of the vote. Hundreds of thousands of people had marched to make their voices heard as MPs, once again, deferred a decision on Brexit.

It was indeed an important victory for common sense and constitutionalism. The prime minister tried to bounce parliament into voting through a worse deal than that negotiated by his predecessor, but brave MPs stood their ground. Sir Oliver Letwin says he wants Britain to leave the European Union, but he and several of his former Conservative colleagues are rightly worried about the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

As Sir Oliver said after the vote, he and those (including this title) who oppose the prime minister’s deal must now part company. But before we do, we should praise him and his colleagues for their public service: by passing the Benn Act, and yesterday’s amendment, they have ensured that the disaster of a disorderly Brexit could not be inflicted on this country.

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