LibLink: Nick Clegg: Finally the Brexit spell is beginning to lift: MPs are beginning to stand against it

In Nick Clegg’s latest iNews column, he says that MPs are finally starting to flex some muscle in the Brexit process. He is as bold as to say that he believes Parliament will actually save the country from its fate. Nick’s article is important because it gives those who think that our fate is inevitable a clear route map to a better future.

He says that if Parliament votes down the deal, the two year Brexit clock will stop ticking:

Next October, Brexit Secretary David Davis will present the Government’s threadbare Brexit deal to the House of Commons for approval. This is the key vote, the key moment, which will determine Britain’s future. Vote down the deal, and headlong rush towards Brexit will come to a shuddering halt. The clock counting down the minutes to Britain’s departure from the EU will stop ticking. ‘Senior officials in Brussels last week expressed their certainty that Britain can still find a place for itself within the EU’

The government, with increasing panic, insists otherwise, and will continue to repeat its threat that by rejecting a deal MPs will be voting for Britain to crash out of Europe without a deal. This is total nonsense. For a start, Britain will legally remain part of the EU.

However, should MPs, on behalf of their constituents, decide not to go ahead with Brexit then the Article 50 process will inevitably be paused. Our friends and partners across Europe won’t shrug their shoulders and simply carry on with the process. Instead the EU will reach for the pause button. This was made clear to me by senior officials in Brussels last week, who not only expressed their growing bewilderment with the government’s approach to the Brexit talks but also their certainty that Britain can find a place for itself within the EU should it choose a different path.

He says that given the severity of the situation, MPs should not be whipped in this vote:

And as they vote, MPs will have to look into their consciences. This will be a moment of such historic magnitude that they will be asked about it for years to come. How they voted will be recorded in the history books. Given its significance for the country today and for future generations to come, the vote cannot be left to the arm-twisting antics of party whips. Instead this should be a free vote, and MPs should be encouraged to set aside their short-term tribal instincts and vote instead for their country rather than their party

You can read his whole article here – and share widely with people who may be a bit resigned to our Brexit fate.

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  • Nonconformistradical 21st Oct '17 - 11:40am
  • Nonconformistradical 21st Oct '17 - 11:41am
  • Michael Cole 21st Oct '17 - 1:24pm

    I agree with Nick.

  • The question is simple

    “Will reality bite hard enough that enough people wake up too their sleep march to the cliff before or after we tumble off”

    Well I don’t know if it will be a case of “God that was close, could have done ourselves a nasty injury” or “Nurse, nurse I need to go to the toilet and I’m paralysed you know! Nurse for God shakes someone get me a nurse”. If the brave Brexiteers get their way we will all be needing nurse and I bet they will be the ones screaming hardest for nursie.

  • Christopher Haigh 21st Oct '17 - 5:32pm

    @frankie, yes it will be the government centralising ‘brexiteers’ who will probably be the least able to cope with their own brexit.

  • Tristan Ward 21st Oct '17 - 6:00pm

    This afternoon I was at a Turning Remainers into Campaigners event, for those of all parties and none, but inevitably with much Lib Dem support. (Great examples of activity from St Albans)

    We think we have a year to turn public opinion. I think the Consensus of the meeting was that the best way of campaiging to convert the uncertain is Brexit isn’t going well” and no one voted to get poorer. Great pro-Europe quotations from Winston Churchill and Mrs T!

    Let’s get out there and help swing public opinion.

  • Mark Seaman 22nd Oct '17 - 1:31am

    MPs are beginning to stand against it …. yep .. when it is several years till they have to stand for election again. But the next election will eventually happen.

  • Shelagh Hemelryk 22nd Oct '17 - 10:02am

    This is what I have been saying all along. Do not think that referendum are a way to make huge decision for the country’s future. Do not think that a second referendum would be any more democratic, Parliament is sovereign and so hope that politicians will insist on free, unwhipped vote on the final Brexit agreement and have the courage to vote for the good of the country, not to defend the so called, uninformed, will of the people.

  • Anne Williams 22nd Oct '17 - 11:56am

    I agree with Nick too.

  • John Probert 23rd Oct '17 - 11:35am

    Nick: ” .. as they vote, MPs will have to look into their consciences.”

    How can any MP who believes the UK is “better in than out”- which includes Mrs May –
    possibly vote any other way?

    I fear for the future of Parliamentary democracy in this country.

  • Peter Hirst 23rd Oct '17 - 3:06pm

    Even if the vote is free, MPs are going to consult their constituents before deciding. This is why we must continue to put the remain message out. The Government could avoid a climb down by altering to ” we did our best but we can’t negotiate a deal that in our (my) view is in the nation’s interest”. This could build a consensus. I don’t suppose we would get much credit for it but at least we remain.

  • Katharine Pindar 23rd Oct '17 - 3:46pm

    Well said, Peter Hirst. I believe that individually and in our local parties (for instance by holding anti-Brexit street stalls), we should help to build up a groundswell of feeling that Brexit can and must be defeated. I was just told by a neighbour that when complaining in the local supermarket about the sudden steep rise in the price of butter the shop assistant blamed leaving the EU! I had heard that the price rise had more to do with the country having too few cows now, presumably if so because farmers hadn’t got enough of a return on their milk yield, but if people are beginning to blame leaving the EU for every price rise, that will help put pressure on the Government. And let’s not cease to insist that we are leading the Exit from Brexit movement!

  • Tristan Ward: No one voted to get poorer ? But I have heard so many leavers claim that they would prefer to be poorer and outside the EU in a sovereign state than richer inside it. It all depends how much I suspect. I doubt if any of the leading Brexiteers have any plans to get poorer, only the hopelessly naïve or gullible ones who think that eventually things will better. Some of the leading Brexiteers expect to make a great deal of money if we leave the EU and they are not going to give up easily especially if they still have the support of the majority of those who voted and are willing to continue to make the claims that they did before the referendum, for instance on that bus.

  • David Bertram 27th Oct '17 - 12:52pm

    We nay say no-one voted to become poorer. But take a look at the bottom line on the chart in this post from Political betting.

    Now you could read this as Leavers not believing they would get poorer. Or, perhaps that things *could* get worse for them. But you can also read it as their saying that the things they think are important – those at the top of the chart: self-determination (I know!), national security and immigration control are indeed worth getting poorer for.

  • David Bertram 27th Oct ’17 – 12:52pm:
    …you can also read it as their saying that the things they think are important – those at the top of the chart: self-determination (I know!), national security and immigration control are indeed worth getting poorer for.

    They are; it never was about the economy. In any case, the impact on economic growth is likely to be relatively small and insignificant compared to the UK’s huge debt-fuelled house price bubble. Any deterioration in our terms of trade, actual or anticipated, will most likely be compensated for by a more competitive pound.

    If voters were concerned about the economy they may have taken the view that some short-term pain is worth the long tern gain. In the run up to the Referendum the remain camp published research by Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) which forecast over the medium to longer term little difference in GDP growth between a free trade deal and the default WTO agreement. Both were slightly higher than for remaining in the EU. PwC may well be wrong; their short-term shock prediction has proven to be wildly pessimistic.

    ‘EU referendum: CBI warns of UK exit ‘serious shock’’ [March 2016]:

    Britain’s prospects

    If the UK remained in, PwC said GDP was forecast to expand on average by 2.3% between 2021 and 2025 and between 2026 and 2030.

    In a free trade scenario, PwC said average annual growth would be 2.7% between 2021 and 2025, and an average of 2.3% in the years to 2030.

    In a WTO agreement, average annual GDP growth would be 2.6% between 2021 and 2025 and 2.4% up to 2030, forecast PwC.

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