Author Archives: Wera Hobhouse MP

The Expiry Date of a Referendum Result

There are two democratic principles that, taken together, demand a referendum on the deal. The first is that a democratic decision should be enforced, and the second is that no democratic decision has an indefinite mandate.

The first principle, taken alone, is being used by the Conservatives and Labour to oppose a referendum on the deal. This is the argument:

In 2015 the Conservatives won the general election promising a referendum. The 2015 parliament voted to hold this referendum. In 2016 a referendum was held. In 2017 the same parliament voted to trigger Article 50.

The process has constitutional legitimacy at every stage.

What …

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Wera Hobhouse MP: Only the people can finish what the people have started

This is the speech delivered by Bath MP Wera Hobhouse in favour of a referendum on the final Brexit deal during the debate on the EU Withdrawal Bill on Wednesday.

I rise to speak to amendment 120. Since I arrived in this place in June and started taking part in the Brexit debate, one thing has intrigued me: have the Prime Minister and many other remain MPs changed their minds? We all know that the Prime Minister supported remaining in June 2016. Has she changed her mind since? This is important because she and her Government use one big argument for pressing on with Brexit: it is the will of the people. Is it? For the Government and the hard Brexiteers, the referendum result is fixed forever. The people cannot change their minds. The Prime Minister and other MPs can change their minds, but the people cannot.​

Posted in Op-eds | 47 Comments

Wera Hobhouse MP writes…My housing priorities for the Budget

Tomorrow, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, will present his Budget to the House of Commons. He promises that housing will be the “number one priority”, but will he put the money where his mouth is?

People’s lives can no longer be dictated by a lack of affordable housing; whether to take a job, whether to start a family – many of these life-changing decisions are now overshadowed by the housing crisis. Access to housing is not a luxury, it is a human right.

To address the housing crisis, Liberal Democrats are calling on the government to include five priorities in the Budget:

Additional borrowing of over £100 billion to finance house building

If the government is serious about achieving 300,000 new homes a year, they must prioritise direct investment in house building. For far too long Britain has failed to meet the demand for new housing. Government intervention is now needed to help shift the market dynamics and spur development.

Empower local authorities to build more social housing

Almost two thirds of councils across England are struggling to find social tenancies for homeless people. To help address shortages, the government must remove the cap on council borrowing for house building and allow for suspension of the Right to Buy. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, Sajid Javid, has been quick to point the finger of blame at local planning authorities, but what steps will he take to put power back in their hands?

Help under-30s get a foot on the housing ladder

The younger generation are clearly bearing the brunt of the housing crisis. In my constituency, Bath, house prices are notoriously high and for most young people owning a house here is little more than a pipe dream. To give people the opportunity to move out of the private rented rector and put down roots, I would like to see new “Rent to Own” homes where every monthly rent payment goes towards owning a house outright.

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Brexit and Democracy or What is the Will of the People?

There is just one great argument left for Brexit. We voted for it, and the government is delivering the will of the people.

I hear this argument over and over again in parliament. It even comes from the awkward squad on the Tory benches like Anna Soubry and Dominic Grieve, or from Labour front bench MPs like Keir Starmer or Emily Thornberry. All of them are saying, in their own words, Brexit means Brexit. They want their version of Brexit of course, but the destination is fixed.

They have a point. 33 million people voted in the 2016 referendum and parliament doesn’t feel that it can ignore that. I agree. The 2017 General Election provided no mandate for overturning the referendum result. It is obvious really that 650 MPs cannot overrule a decision taken by 33 million people.

Posted in Op-eds | 103 Comments
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