An open blog to my MP Ben Bradshaw
Ben, I am a self standing environmental campaigner, I have no affiliations to any organisations or political parties. I have campaigned to remain in the EU and have written about it extensively since the referendum – see here. I write from an environmental perspective because that is what I know about but the principles apply to all sectors of our society.
I have been reading a bit about what the legal profession has been saying about the EU Referendum and what is required before the Article 50 button can be pressed. It is very interesting! You might find this article “Pulling the Article 50 Trigger: Parliament’s Indispensable Role” worth reading – it has been written by the UK Constitutional Law Association. In essence it says that before a Prime Minister can ‘pull the Article 50 trigger’ (the formal and binding action needed to leave the EU) Parliament needs to pass an Act of Parliament to endorse the EU Reference result, i.e. Parliament needs to pass a law saying we are going to leave the EU.
The House of Commons currently has a majority of sitting MPs who are opposed to leaving the EU and therefore it is possible that it would be impossible to pass such an Act and therefore it would not be within the gift of the next Prime Minister to press the Article 50 button.
You might argue that this undermines the democratic process – the country has spoken and therefore MPs ought to act in light of that. You are welcome to that view but the UK Constitution is also clear about what needs to be done and it is not done until ‘the fat lady sings’.
In my view the Referendum campaign was a complete disgrace underpinned by lies, counter lies, hatred and division. As a result many people voted for issues entirely unrelated to what was stated on the ballot paper.
If the environmental sector had taken its lead from popular opinion very little would have been achieved over the years. We need to fight for what we believe in using the legitimate avenues open to us. Unfortunately the environmental NGOs appear to have been castrated by the Charity Commission / Government on this matter and cannot / will not show the leadership required.
You have shown exemplary leadership during the EU Referendum and I am proud to live in a city that voted to remain in the EU.
So my question to you is, will you hold the Government to account and ensure an Act of Parliament is brought before the Commons and the Lords which would facilitate the UK’s departure from the EU? Additionally will you then campaign and vote to defeat this legislation?
Alternatively if you feel there are other better ways which will ensure we remain in the EU I would love know what they are!
Adrian Colston, a resident of Exwick in Exeter.