Face it squarely
The Government will probably ask
Parliament to pass a Bill that does not directly address the question “should
leave the EU”, but tries to sneak a decision through indirectly. It might be a bill about the timing of notice
to the EU, or about the strategy for negotiating with the EU, containing the
hidden presumption that the decision to leave has been made.
Parliament must not pass such a
Bill. It must amend the wording so that
it addresses the question clearly, and only then decide whether to pass it or
not. It must directly state the proposition “that the UK shall leave EU”.
Parliament can then make the decision on whether to Leave or Remain by
passing the Bill or not passing it. If
the Bill cannot be amended in that way, then Parliament must refuse to pass it.
This decision is the most
important one that the UK
has faced in at least 75 years (since 1939). If the Government is allowed to bypass
Parliament and make it on its own initiative, it will have created a precedent
with devastating consequences for the UK’s constitution. It has taken 800 years since Magna Carta to
develop what is, in principle, the best form of government in the world –
representative government through a sovereign parliament. It would be a great loss not just to this
country but to the world if it were discredited and swept away.
There is a rumour that the
Government has, in fact, been preparing a “bombproof” bill – one that can not
be amended. If that is true, it proves
that the Government has no respect for Parliament and regards it as nothing
more than a rubber stamp for its own decisions.
Parliament must not allow itself to be made into a rubber stamp, a mere
inconvenience to the Government. That
would open a path that leads eventually to Dictatorship.