Sunday, 5 February 2017

A Meaningful Vote, Indeed

If I were an MP, then I would vote to repeal the European Communities Act regardless of the outcome of any referendum.

If I were an MP, then I would vote to repeal the European Communities Act regardless of whether or not there had ever been a referendum.

If I had been an MP, then I would probably have voted against holding a referendum in the first place.

What if it had gone the other way, as it very nearly did?

This country would have been stuck in the EU forever on the wholly erroneous theory that that constituted "the Will of the People".

52 per cent of 72 per cent is not "the Will of the People", whatever that might mean.

Nor does it matter that Parliament voted to hold a referendum.

It not only should not, but it actually cannot, bind itself to the outcome of some opinion poll, however large, and regardless of who or what had commissioned that exercise.

I did not agree with the MPs who voted against Second Reading of the Article 50 Bill, simply because I want to withdraw from the European Union, anyway.

But they were perfectly within their rights, including the right to break a three-line whip such as that which both main parties had correctly imposed.

And if the Bill does not by then include an extra £350 million per week for the NHS, then Labour ought to vote against Third Reading.

It is increasingly clear that the foreknowledge of this might move enough inveterate Conservatives Remainers at least to abstain, such that this Bill might be defeated at Third Reading.

Thereby requiring the Government to come back with a better one in order to begin the process of withdrawal.


  1. The last of the parliamentary purists.

    1. The last to say it out loud, perhaps.