Parliamentary democracy

Have your say

In reply to the letter from Cyril Olsen entitled, Leaving the EU, (Letters, November 8, 2016), in which among other things he urges the Supreme Court to uphold the Government appeal.

I think he and they misunderstand the democratic process of the UK.

And this Government seems to be hell bent on misunderstanding too.

According to a recent letter in The Guardian (page 30, Tuesday, November 8, from a Dr Lowry)...” There is a clear statement by Government on parliament’s role, found in the ‘Government’s response to the report on Referendums in the United Kingdom’, comprising a report by the House of Lords select committee on the constitution (HL Paper 99), published on September 30, 2010, replying to the committee report issued on April 7 that year.

In a letter to the committee, Mark Harper MP wrote: ‘I welcome the report... and, given the profile and importance of the subject, the government has considered its response carefully in light of the recent introduction of the parliamentary voting system and constituencies bill’.

In its substantive response to recommendations the government asserted: ‘Under the UK’s constitutional arrangements parliament must be responsible for deciding whether or not to take action in response to a referendum result”.

The position seems pretty clear to me – parliament should vote on the terms of Brexit.

We live in a parliamentary democracy where the ‘people’ are represented by the MPs they vote for and those MPs are responsible for making decisions on the people’s behalf.

We have the right to remove our MPs and the governing party at elections if we disagree with the decisions that have been taken on our behalf.

We had a civil war and the beheading of a King to establish the principle of parliamentary rule in our democracy in order to ensure that leaders and parties have to follow the established democratic process.

This ensures that no leader or party or indeed a group of people such as the large group who voted to leave (but the same applies to the large group who voted to remain) can make binding decisions without parliamentary debate and agreement.

We’ve fought wars and many have died and been maimed in order to establish and maintain the principle that parliament is the foundation of our democracy.

I expect the Supreme Court will confirm that founding principle.

It would then be incumbent upon Theresa May and everyone else in parliament to respect the court’s view and work through parliament and its debating processes and then to vote to confirm the referendum vote or to set it aside as they see fit following those debates and vote.

One could argue that David Cameron agreed to an EU referendum to stop the Conservative splitting apart and that Theresa May is trying to force through the referendum result without parliamentary due process to stop the Conservative party splitting apart.

When will a Tory leader do what’s right for the country not their own self-serving ends?

Let parliament have the last word.

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