Revoke article 50: A response to the response

A recent petition by Amy Milliken surrounding the findings of the Electoral Commission that Vote Leave had broken electoral law garnered a fair amount of interest on the parliamentary petition site, quickly surpassing the 10,000 signature threshold for a government response. We will now analyse this response.

The petition #

Rescind Art.50 if Vote Leave has broken Electoral Laws regarding 2016 referendum

If Vote Leave has broken any laws regarding overspending in 2016 EU referendum then Art.50 should be immediately withdrawn and full EU membership continued.

Continued on

The government response #

1 August 2018

The British people voted to leave the EU, and it is the duty of the Government to deliver on their instruction. There can be no attempt to stay in the EU.

‘Can be no attempt’
Doesn’t a healthy democracy depend on opposition and the exploration of alternative views?

The result of the referendum held on 23 June 2016 saw a majority of people vote to leave the European Union. This was the biggest democratic mandate for a course of action ever directed at any UK Government. Following this, Parliament authorised the Prime Minister to trigger Article 50, passing the EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Act.

‘Biggest democratic mandate’
No. A mandate is mandatory. Referendums in the UK have only ever been advisory. Also, it was actually a very tight result, hardly a landslide.

‘Parliament authorised the Prime Minister’
Despite her trying to trigger it without their approval and subsequently being challenged in court.

In last year’s General Election, over 80% of people then voted for parties committing to respecting the result of the referendum. It was the stated policy of both major parties that the decision of the people would be respected. The Government is clear that it is now its duty to implement the will of the electorate.

‘80% of people then voted for parties…’
Yes, because people vote for the main parties. They could say anything and the most that the majority would do is vote for the other. The genuine choice in the 2017 general election was between leaving with labour and leaving with the conservatives.

‘Stated policy of both major parties’
Wow, they’re going to stick to a policy? Maybe I’m just bitter as a student but cough tuition fees. Also, what’s the point of an opposition that doesn’t … oppose? If both parties supported Brexit, who were voters supposed to choose?

‘The government is clear’
Unfortunately, that’s the only thing they’re clear on.

This was not a decision made after just a few weeks of campaigning, but one that came after a debate that had taken place both in Parliament and across the country for decades.

‘A few weeks of campaigning’
Campaigning seems a rather soft term for what we saw. Was it really only a few weeks?

We are committed to making a success of the British people’s decision to leave the European Union. And that is how we have always approached the negotiations - anticipating success, not failure. It is vital that we try to reach an agreement that builds a strong relationship between Britain and the EU as neighbours, allies and partners. Not just for those who voted to leave but for every citizen of the United Kingdom. We were given a national mandate and this Government is determined to deliver a deal in the national interest.

‘Anticipating success, not failure’
Evidenced by the lack of any government planning for a no-deal exit. I’m not honestly filled with confidence.

‘Builds a strong relationship’
Ah, like a kind of intergovernmental union?

‘National mandate’
Except for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Gibraltar.
Again, mandates are mandatory. Referendums are advisory. Advisory ≠ mandatory.

As the Prime Minister has said: “This is about more than the decision to leave the EU; it is about whether the public can trust their politicians to put in place the decision they took.” The British people can trust this Government to honour the referendum result and get the best deal possible. To do otherwise would be to undermine the decision of the British people. The premise that the people can trust their politicians to deliver on the promises they make and will deliver them in Parliament is fundamental to our democracy.

‘The public can trust their politicians … people can trust this government’
Ha, good one. Presumably this is in contrast the the politicians who lied throughout the campaign. This must be a joke.
‘Politicians are still trusted less than estate agents, journalists and bankers.’ (Ipsos MORI, 2016)

Our focus is making a success of Brexit and attempting to get the best deal possible. A deal that is in the interests of both the United Kingdom and the European Union. And one that takes in both economic and security cooperation.

‘Economic and security cooperation’
Perhaps we could create an organisation that helps co-ordinate the co-operation between countries.

It is the Government’s duty to deliver the will of the people and reach a desirable final outcome.

Department for Exiting the European Union.

‘A desirable final outcome’
Well that sounds inspiring. Guess it means bringing blue passports back. Doesn’t matter that they’ll be far less useful.

Wait, that was written by the people who only have a job because of Brexit? The people who’d presumably be out of work if article 50 was rescinded?


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