Thursday, November 03, 2016

A Matter of Principle

As a matter of principle, today's ruling that Parliament must vote on the invocation of Article 50 is dead right - one of the key principles argued in the referendum was that it should be the Westminster parliament that holds power in the UK, and this ruling reflects that.

However, as a matter of principle the MPs within the House of Commons really need to vote for the invocation of Article 50, almost regardless of their personal views on the same. (MPs from Scotland and Northern Ireland have something of a get-out clause here, in that they'll be representing the wishes of their countrymen, but that should be largely symbolic - they should be handily outvoted by the MPs from England and Wales.)

Because the job of MPs is to represent their constituents in Westminster. And while I don't like the result of the EU referendum, the will of the people of the UK was clear - it is therefore for our MPs to get on and implement it.

(What this does mean, however, is that Parliament can, and should, demand greater oversight of the process of Brexit - and, specifically, Parliament could insist on a 'soft' Brexit or could insist that the government not give sweetheart deals to some companies at the expense of the rest of us, or on whatever other conditions they want. Because while the result of the referendum was clear that the UK should Leave the EU, we did not vote on how this should be done. If the powers-that-be want a specific mandate on that one, they're free to seek it; otherwise, the mandate lies with our MPs.)

#59: "Tome of Beasts", by Kobold Press

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