Two contributors battle it outby Ed Miliband, Michael Gove / November 11, 2016 / Leave a comment
The High Court has ruled that Theresa May cannot commence Britain’s exit from the EU without the assent of MPs. The government wants a free hand over the timing and the negotiating terms, arguing that the referendum provides all the authority it needs. The Supreme Court will hear its appeal in December.
Should parliament have a binding vote on the terms of Brexit?
Ed Miliband is former Leader of the Opposition and Labour MP for Doncaster North
Dear Michael, your conviction that we should leave the European Union was rooted in a belief in the sovereignty of our parliament as the rightful expression of the sovereignty of the people. I respect this as a sincere and long-held conviction. There is a clear mandate for Brexit from the referendum. I know you are too intelligent to want to play the man not the ball but to avoid doubt, I am not seeking to reverse the result. We are leaving the EU.
But there was only one question on the ballot paper: Should we remain in or leave the EU? There was no opportunity to opt for a particular form of Brexit. Nor was there a mandate from the Conservative 2015 manifesto either.
That is why it is essential that the government gets a mandate from parliament for its negotiating plan before the commencement of the negotiations. Given your convictions, I hope you would agree that it would be quite wrong to deny parliament a guiding role in the negotiations supposedly designed to return power to it.
This is not simply an argument about parliamentary process. The government says it wants a national consensus but that can only be built if both those who voted “Leave” and “Remain” are taken with it on the journey to our new destination as a country. That requires openness about the government’s strategy, its plan and how it will overcome the difficult trade-offs. It also requires a mandate. The alternative is a recipe for a still-divided country.
There are huge and important choices to be made about Brexit with profound implications for our economy and place in the world for decades ahead. I hope you will support my desire for parliament’s voice to be heard because it is essential for the sovereignty you say you want to see…