Douglas Carswell

13 MAR 2017

Brexit begins

264 days since the referendum, Article 50 could be triggered this week. Finally, Brexit is becoming a reality.

Assuming the House of Commons votes down the Lords' amendments to the Article 50 Bill today, the Lords will be unlikely to obstruct the Bill again. The PM could then trigger Article 50 as soon as tomorrow morning.

Of course, there will be other big Parliamentary votes on the Brexit process – both on the final deal and on the Great Repeal Bill.

But the nature of the debate will now change. There will be no going back.

Ideally, from now on, Parliament would play a constructive – rather than obstructive – role. We can now have substantive discussions about vast areas of policy that were delegated to the EU.

Taking back control shouldn't be thought of as the end of the process, but the beginning. Power should be spread outwards and downwards: not just from Brussels to Westminster, but from Westminster to local communities, and ultimately to individuals.

But, as the budget debate testifies, the instincts of both the government and the opposition are fundamentally statist. There is a gap in the political marketplace for a localist, classically liberal domestic agenda.

I set out some ideas for what that agenda could look like in my new book, Rebel – published April 6th. No time to lose.

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