If Theresa May doesn’t want her Brexit strategies scrutinised, she should call a general election

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Sunday 06 November 2016 16:25
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‘It is the duty of our elected representatives to seek re-election as a matter of urgency’
‘It is the duty of our elected representatives to seek re-election as a matter of urgency’

If Theresa May and her Cabinet members are confident that the majority of voters in the UK seek a future outside the EU, why is she afraid to put this to the test via an immediate general election?

Because they are well aware that the result of a mismanaged referendum, predicated on gross lying from both factions, is deeply flawed. They are aware that, now that the implications of Brexit have become clearer, now that those who merely sought to register a protest vote have come to their senses, now that we have seen the tabloid press unleash a tide of xenophobia and contempt for parliamentary democracy – after all of this, now there is no majority in the country for Brexit.

This was not a fair contest of which a few sore losers refuse to accept the result. This was an ill-informed and ill-devised shambles.

It is the duty of our elected representatives to seek re-election as a matter of urgency, with their colours as pro- or anti-EU membership pinned firmly to their masts.

Fiona Stark

Dumfries and Galloway

The government should be grateful to the judiciary for handing them a fig leaf to conceal their blatant attempt at dictatorship. The government is unelected and has sought to ride roughshod over the views of the 48 per cent who want a closer relationship with Europe.

Michael Aston

Wandsworth, London

If someone offered to sell me a car, at least I’d assume we both had a notion of what a car was, though I’d still require a lot more detail before I’d sign up.

In the case of Brexit there’s no such general understanding. I don’t think Theresa May herself has any idea. Worse, she hasn’t got the courage to say so. Instead she’d like to keep us in the dark until she can reveal the donkey she’s amazingly negotiated – and announces it’s a car.

It’s all very dangerous and the reason Parliament absolutely must hold her to account at every stage.

David Penn

Kendal, Lancashire

Remainers must stop delaying the process

The people bleating over the “lost” referendum in June are clearly those who voted Remain, and ever since have tried to convince anyone who will listen that it should now be “the best of three”. Will it be the best of five if the decision goes against them again?

The High Court judges’ decision that Parliament should have a vote on whether or not Article 50 should be invoked seems ludicrous after the cost and effort of arranging a referendum. Why didn’t someone have the foresight to trigger this in May?

Leave the elected governing party to do its job – in this case, namely what the people have voted for.

Marcus Dillon-White

Address supplied

Another way to approach Brexit

Those who paint the referendum as a clear choice made by the electorate are misguided or negligent – the choice was between two ill-defined alternatives, particularly on the pro-Brexit side. This problem was exacerbated by the tendency of the Leave campaign to paint a frankly fanciful picture of a nil-cost Brexit – one which certain members seem to retreat from as soon as the result was in.

However, this impasse cannot be fixed by either a secondary binary referendum or, given the current positions of the parties and our first-past-the-post system, a snap general election.

Instead we need a new referendum that asks people to rank the three main options on an alternative vote system:

1. Hard Brexit – where control of immigration is more important than free trade with the EU (with the associated impact on the UK economy)

2. Soft Brexit – where free trade/the economy is more important than control of immigration

3. Remaining in the EU

The Government would then be left to negotiate the finer details in negotiation with the EU.

Of course, ideally, we would want a short and honest campaign where politicians debated realistic scenarios – which is unfortunately unlikely to happen.

Phil Moss

London

In Britain, the two sides of the Brexit vote seemed to have forgotten the British sense of fair play. Personal attacks on anyone are unacceptable and those against the three judges in the recent court case unquestionably deplorable. While I will defend a free press, there are responsibilities and standards. Heated debate is one thing; verbal abuse quite another.

But there clearly is something wrong when the results of a government-sanctioned voters' referendum cannot be implemented until endorsed by the same government. What purpose referendum, then, one could ask? What authority government?

Additionally, the Royal Prerogative has for decades been used by the executive in government to lawfully do without the authority of an Act of Parliament to implement measures.

However, it is clear that some voters have expressed doubts about their choice since the referendum. We all – from both camps – have learned so much since then. Perhaps we should now allow Parliament to have a free vote, not encumbered by party politics, about whether we leave the EU or not.

It's not victory on either side of this debate that is important but that we get it right. However, if majority rules, the losers in any vote can consider that they are victims of the “victors’ policies” and could find the result unacceptable. Perhaps the parliamentary vote is therefore the only answer.

The only fly in that ointment is that the referendum was deemed necessary because a divided parliament couldn’t agree on the way forward and seemed reluctant to take the step. Also, some voters have lost confidence in politicians and believe that minority views will not be represented or respected.

Wisdom, where are you when we need you?

Dr Bill Johnstone

London SW17

As London voted Remain, the Mayor can rightly hold a plebiscite on London remaining part of the EU as an independent city state like Monaco and Singapore. If a majority of Londoners support a “London Exit” but Parliament refuses to accept it, the Mayor must call on the assistance of the EU in defence of democracy.

A “London Exit” would be unnecessary if Parliament decided to stop Brexit on national interest grounds – namely that supporting Brexit would lead to London voting to leave the UK in order to join the EU and a violent conflict with Londoners and the EU as a result of Parliament refusing to accept this democratic vote.

Richard Lutz

Glenside, SA

Australia

Can each MP vote on invoking Article 50 on the basis of the votes of his or her constituents? What would the decision on that basis be like?

Martin Cross

Address supplied

Don’t believe what you hear about Leave voters

Four months after the referendum and virtually all the media and political class continue to have a total misconception of the demographic that constituted the Leave vote.

Most of our friends and acquaintances are professionals or ex-professionals, live in large detached houses, have two cars and take a couple of foreign holidays a year. In other words, they are the “typical liberal elite” as portrayed by the tabloid press.

In reality, all our friends and acquaintances, with a few notable exceptions, voted for Brexit, which hardly squares with the simplistic labels applied by the leading proponents for leaving the EU.

Conversations with our friends on this topic have become virtually nonexistent over recent weeks and l suspect that they are appalled and embarrassed by the ravings of the tabloids and out-of-touch politicians claiming to be speaking in their name. It would not surprise me if many of them, with the benefit of hindsight, would now vote somewhat differently.

I find it desperately sad and worrying that this continually deteriorating situation has arisen, and continues to be inflamed by the self-seeking agendas of media moguls and disingenuous politicians.

We are ill-placed to mock the dangerous developments in the United States because the parallels with sentiments expressed by people who should know better, in this country, are seriously disturbing.

Roger Turner

Oadby, Leicester

What Brexit has revealed about remembrance

I felt my grandfather (World War I) and father (World War II) peering over my shoulder as I was reading Robert Fisk’s article, each with a knowing smile on their face. The Brexit vote has revealed many people of great courage. Bless you all.

Monika Schroder

Simonden, Ceres

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