I supported Brexit, but the government is wrong in preventing Parliament from voting on the final deal.
Despite the failure of Theresa May to secure a majority in this year’s general election, it is increasingly clear that a Conservative government is the only way to secure a Brexit that works for the whole of the United Kingdom. Not once, as far as I am aware, has Jeremy Corbyn effectively utilised his six questions at PMQs to press the government on its negotiating ability. Indeed, the only reason for this is because the Labour party has no united or coherent policy on how it would undertake the negotiations themselves.
Yet, I believe that the government is mistaken in wanting to prevent parliament from having a ‘meaningful vote’ on the final Brexit agreement. While Theresa May, David Davis and other government ministers have consistently argued in recent weeks that a ‘meaningful vote’ will, in fact, be held, this is clearly not going to be the case. Having a Hobson’s choice between the concluded agreement and a ‘no-deal’ scenario, is not ‘meaningful’ at all. If anything, it is a dereliction of the parliamentary sovereignty that 52% of the country vote for; would it not look hypocritical if ‘taking back control’ excluded Britain’s most important institution?
As a member of that 52%, I therefore find the government’s position somewhat perplexing. We need to recognise that the process of extracting ourselves from the EU is a long and complicated process. The only way to ensure a satisfactory outcome that has the support of both Remainers and Leavers is to allow parliament to do its job: MPs, and not partisan ministers, are best placed to do this. While simply walking away from the negotiations may placate ardent Brexiteers such as Jacob Rees-Mogg, doing so is not in the best interest of the UK. Likewise, I do not accept the argument that MPs will use parliamentary processes to reverse the decision of the 2016 referendum given that the vast majority of them voted to enact Article 50.
The government should immediately commit to a ‘meaningful’ vote in UK law; if this, along with Ken Clarke, Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, makes me a ‘mutineer’, then at least allow us to adjust course first before suppressing the rebellion.