Why democracy itself is at stake. Matt Warman MP’s latest column for the Boston Standard newspaper.
What is the point in having a referendum if its result can be ignored? That’s the question politicians must answer if they are not prepared to vote to trigger Article 50 and leave the EU, following the result of the vote in June.
At this point, it shouldn’t matter if one is a remainer, a brexiteer, or someone who acknowledges there are pros and cons to both options. It is democracy itself that is at stake when Parliament votes to ask the people to decide and then some members, including those unelected peers in the House of Lords, start to say maybe they can ignore an answer they do not like.
This is not to say that Parliament should not scrutinise and be allowed to shape the Government’s negotiating stance, as Prime Minister Theresa May has said it will. But the idea that a Labour Party in disarray or eight Liberal Democrat MPs should be allowed to drive the process strikes me as absurd. It’s reasonable for judges to say Parliament must be involved, but equally it is not reasonable for MPs to pretend this is an opportunity for Parliament to use that as a pretext to alter the outcome.
So that is why, if Parliament is to vote on triggering Article 50, I would vote without hesitation to press ahead: only with the ringing endorsement of Parliament will Britain secure the best possible deal, and only with a Parliament that believes in democracy can we live up to our great heritage and forge a new path in the world.