Tuesday, January 31, 2017

How MPs should vote on the Article 50 Bill

Quite simply in favour.

There are two main lines of argument advanced for them to vote against.

The first only applies to some, with the argument being made that they should vote against because a majority of voters voted Remain in their constituencies.

Leaving aside the fact that the results were not counted by constituency and the estimates are not unanimous, this raises the potential problem that we could have had a majority of constituencies voting one way and a majority of the voters voting the other. The precedent that would be set would be for MPs to ignore a national vote and substitute the constituency results. Such a referendum outcome could never be sustainable and is undesirable. MPs have multiple duties, including to vote for what is in the best interests of the country as a whole. By calling a UK wide referendum they gave the question to the UK as a whole and should not rewrite the rules afterwards.

The same applies to the argument being thrown about that MPs should replace the electorate's decision with their own judgement. This appeal to parliamentary democracy is fundamentally weakened by the very use of a referendum which has meant that MPs have already passed the decision to the people. And it wasn't an "advisory" affair but a decisive vote. Prior to the results everyone involved, MPs, voters, the EU etc..., knew that a Leave victory would mean the UK leaving the EU.

To deny the referendum outcome would be a negation of democracy. At a time when there is a crisis of participation it is essential that democracy is seen to work, especially with the highest turnout vote of the 21st century.


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