Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

See If Final Brexit Deal Matches the Will of the People

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

See If Final Brexit Deal Matches the Will of the People

Article excerpt

Byline: Paul Brannen

WHO decides; the Government, Parliament or the people? In our UK parliamentary democracy, the people elect politicians at the ballot box and the political party that commands a majority in the House of Commons forms the government. The government can then bring forward draft legislation which is then discussed and amended in the Commons and the Lords in order to then be voted on.

Once agreed, it becomes the law of the land. However, if the Government of the day cannot get its legislation agreed it has to withdraw the proposal.

Historically if the Government is defeated on key aspects of its legislation then a vote of confidence can follow which could result in a general election being called.

A referendum has the potential to drive a coach and horses through the usual modus operandi of Parliamentary procedure.

We can see this in the fallout from the Brexit referendum result.

The problem we have created for ourselves is that the EU referendum was an order from the people to politicians to leave the European Union. Alas, this order came with no instructions.

We know we have to leave the house but do we go by the front door, the back door or climb out of a window? There is a world of difference between leaving the EU and staying in the Single Market (a soft Brexit) and crashing out on the default World Trade Organisation terms (a hard Brexit). There are several other options in between and politicians are caught up in this tricky dilemma.

It is too simplistic to say that MPs in Leave voting constituencies should back a hard Brexit because it is the "will of the people". During the referendum campaign there were many instances of leading Brexiteers stating that voting Leave didn't mean leaving the Single Market or the European Economic Area.

MPs also have conflicting views to take into account. The North East voted 58% to leave in the referendum but in every constituency in our region bar one (Redcar) a majority of Labour voters backed remain. …

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