A meaningful vote and a campaign launch
The last few weeks have seen dramatic and important scenes in Parliament as peers and MPs have sought to prevent this government from acting like a dictatorship when it comes to the EU. Whether you voted to Leave or to Remain, it is absolutely vital that Parliament has a meaningful say when it comes to Mrs May’s deal with the EU.
MPs must be able to say that her deal is not good enough and to send her back to negotiate further. They must be able to say that ‘no deal’ - which would mean, literally, grounded planes and chaos at the borders - is not acceptable. They must be able to offer the British people a ‘People’s Vote’ if they believe that their constituents should be heard. If the Government gets its way, your MP won’t be able to do any of this. Their hands will be tied behind their back. That is not democracy and it certainly isn’t the ‘Parliamentary sovereignty’ that Brexiteers used to say they believed in.
Yesterday I voted to give MPs a meaningful say. Tomorrow, MPs themselves will be asked whether they want to do their duty - to scrutinise the Executive and to give the Government instructions on behalf of their constituents - or not. Remarkably, under considerable pressure, many MPs will vote against their own interests and responsibilities. They will vote to give Mrs May absolute power on Brexit. That is wrong.
Please email your MP today. Tell them that you hope and expect that they will do their duty and vote to ensure that Parliament has a meaningful vote. The Leave campaign told us that we were taking back control. They didn’t tell us that we would be handing it lock, stock and barrel to Theresa May.
Last week the SNP walked out of Parliament after their Leader was expelled in an argument over how the Government has seized control in another area. Powers that were devolved to Holyrood and Cardiff, via the EU, are being seized by central Government. It is a land grab of epic proportions and demonstrates just how centralised this country will become after Brexit.
The truth is that Britain is appallingly economically and politically imbalanced. This was one of the causes of the Brexit vote and, ironically, it will get worse if Brexit happens. Will Hutton and I talk extensively about this problem, and what to do about it, in our book Saving Britain. Buy it here.
Today I am also launching a campaign, to make sure that the voices of local government are heard in the debate over Brexit. Up and down the country, councils are reeling from austerity and preparing themselves for the loss of jobs and wealth that Brexit will bring. They need to let central government know where they stand. They need to speak up for their residents and for their local economies.
In Hammersmith and Fulham, the council passed a resolution calling for a People’s Vote on Brexit. The council met, they debated the issue and they voted to speak out on behalf of their residents. I am working with councillors up and down the country to push for similar resolutions. I want to show Parliament and the Government that the towns and boroughs of Britain cannot be ignored and must have a voice in this critical issue. But I need your help.
I want you to write to your local councillor to ask them to support this campaign. On my website here you will find a template letter that you can use to get in touch with your local representatives. You’ll also find other resources, like a template motion that can be used. As this campaign progresses over the summer and into the autumn I will be updating these resources and adding a list of councils that have passed motions in favour of a People’s Vote. It is so important to show the Government that there is real anger out there in the country and a real demand that we be given the final say. Make sure you and your neighbours are heard by joining this campaign today.
Let me know what you are doing in your area by getting in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org