Douglas Carswell

07 DEC 2016

Theresa May must call a binding vote to trigger Brexit - and watch Remainers squirm

Six months ago, more people voted to leave the European Union than have ever voted for any political party in any British election ever. Turnout in the referendum was higher than in any general election since 1992. A clear majority backed Brexit. The British people issued an unambiguous instruction.

Yet today marks the first time that the Labour party has formally set out a position in the Commons on Brexit since the referendum. Ostensibly, their motion aims to push the government to disclose its Brexit plan for parliamentary scrutiny. But who are they kidding?

The pretence that some on the Labour frontbench are sudden converts to the idea of parliamentary oversight is pure sophistry. This is a party whose leadership willingly signed away parliament's sovereignty to Brussels on countless occasions over the last twenty years.

If Labour's backing for Brexit is conditional on how the government negotiates it, that alone is an affront to the pro-Brexit majority. The referendum result was unconditional and unequivocal. Obstructing Brexit on any pretext is anti-democratic.

Yet obstructionism is all some Remain MPs have to offer. In reality, the sole intention of today's motion is to give Europhile MPs an excuse to obstruct the triggering Article 50. They want nothing more than to bog it down in an unendingly complex Bill - over which they and the courts can then preside.

That was until the government called their bluff.

Last night the Prime Minister tabled an amendment that turns Labour's plan on its head. By calling for Article 50 to be triggered by March 31 2017, the amendment puts Parliament's reactionary Remainers on the spot.

I have cheerfully added my name to the amendment.

But enough of these Parliamentary parlour games. I'd like to see the government go much further. Today's vote isn't binding. We need one that is – and the sooner, the better.

Rather than waste time letting lawyers and vested interests tie the Prime Minister's hands, the government should put Brexit legislation before MPs now. If this parliament refuses to back it, let's elect one in 2017 that will.

Remain supporting MPs are in no position to dictate terms. By some estimates, seven out of ten Labour constituencies voted Leave. I know at least two Remain Tory MPs being threatened with deselection by their local associations. Go ahead, my friends. I dare you to go all Guardianista in your constituencies in the current climate.

There's a rising unease out there across the country. If this Parliament gets in the way of what the people have decided, we can always elect a new Parliament. And many Remain MPs know it.

Let's call their bluff with a binding Bill to trigger Brexit.

This article originally appeared in the Telegraph

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