This article was first published on Huffington Post.
Over two months has passed since the people of the United Kingdom voted to leave the EU. It was billed as the most momentous decision the electorate would take for a generation. But what has happened to date? Absolutely nothing. The scare stories have not materialised and the British people still do not have control. Their laws are still made by 28 unelected EU Commissioners, their Parliament is still not sovereign and their Supreme Court is still not supreme. Many people feel their votes will simply be ignored. What we need is a symbolic gesture to prove that come what may we are leaving the EU.
Recent reports have suggested a ‘Brexit Bill’ is being pushed forward by Eurosceptics. Hopefully this will become a ‘Brexit Law’ sooner rather than later. The idea behind this is for the UK Parliament to pass an Act of Parliament repealing the European Communities Act 1972 (the piece of domestic law which made the UK a member of the EU).
The ‘Brexit Law’ would not come into force immediately, instead it would come into force on a stated date – let’s say 1st January 2020 (this date is merely an example which could be modified in accordance with the Government’s timetable for Brexit).
This new Act would be symbolic, and would not change the UK’s position within the EU by itself, as the UK’s withdrawal from the EU can only be done in reality (both legally and politically) through triggering Article 50. What it would do, however, is to prove once and for all “Brexit means Brexit”, Theresa May’s own favourite soundbite. This is an action which would speak far lounder than words.
Many people currently fear there will be a series of backroom deals to prevent Brexit occurring. This legislative act would convince those disaffected individuals, who are becoming angrier by the day, about the Government’s sincerity. It also sets a clear timetable for the public to hold the Government to account, while sending a message to EU leaders about the inability to fudge the decision.
The proposal of a ‘Brexit Bill’ would necessitate a vote in Parliament in reality (obviously other mechanisms are open, but probably not a great idea). We will have to wait until next month to find out if the Supreme Court decides a vote is required on leaving the EU in any case. This is due to the legal challenge relating to whether Parliament must vote on the triggering of Article 50.
Despite believing it is unnecessary, we at Get Britain Out do not fear a vote in Parliament. We are confident the majority of MPs will respect the decision made by their constituents and carry out their wishes. It would take a very brave MP indeed to treat his or her constituents with deliberate contempt, believing the Westminster establishment knows best. In any case, there will be an election before too long, and this type of audacity would surely result in them getting a swift boot by the voters.
This is especially true of Labour leadership contender Owen Smith. He would like to see a second EU referendum in order to get the result wants, despite the stated aims of the people of this country. His position is particularly curios because Rhondda Cynon Taf, which includes his own constituency of Pontypridd voted by 53.7% to 46.3% to Leave the EU in the referendum. Additionally, we have seen recent polls which claim only 34% of the public believe a second referendum would be acceptable.
Perhaps it would be good news if these pro-EU MPs voted against the Bill, as this would result in the establishment being cast away with new MPs elected who genuinely reflected the wishes of their constituents. This would facilitate a genuine democracy which gives the power to the people – the exact reason we voted to Get Britain Out of the EU in the first place. Once this process of renewal is completed, we would have an establishment which would be more than happy to fulfil our wishes by taking us out of the EU.