Sunday 16 September 2018

Brexitwatch: London demands a People's Vote

If you wrote to your London Assembly member asking them to back a referendum on the terms of the UK leaving the EU (see my posts of Sept 2 and 3), well done! In spite of the opposition of Conservative and UKIP members, the Assembly decided to back democracy, and today mayor Sadiq Khan has added his voice to the demand for a People's Vote. 

Writing endless letters and emails is often frustrating, but it does work. My own belief is that Brexit will only be stopped when most MPs start to believe their careers will be damaged more by dragging us out of the EU than by letting us stay in it. Every anti-Brexit letter or email they receive helps to bring them to that conclusion.

Regular readers of this blog will know I reject the 'People's Will' argument. The referendum was advisory and explicitly non-binding on MPs. It offered bad advice and it was the duty of MPs to reject it in the national interest (see my post of March 29 etc).

But even if you accept the argument, it is clear the 'People's Will' has changed, with some polls suggesting 59% would now support staying in the EU. The New European has an interesting figure. 

MPs decided to prevent 16 and 17 year olds from voting in the referendum even though they were going to have to live with its consequences longer than the people who were allowed to vote. About 1.5 million of them turn 18 between the referendum in June 2016 and March 29 next year when we are due to leave the EU. More than 80% of them want to stay. Don't give up the fight. Stop Brexit.

Monday 3 September 2018

Brexitwatch: A modern Conservative writes

On Friday 31 August, I posted an email I had sent to Labour and Conservative members of the London Assembly to urge them to support a People's Vote on the final Brexit terms in Thursday's vote (6 Sept).

So far I have received one reply - from Conservative member, Susan Hall. It is notable for not addressing any of the points I raised, and being based on no evidence except her 'full confidence that all will work out well.' Good to know we have such deep thinkers as our elected representatives.

You can see my original letter in my post of 31 August. Below is her response and my reply to it.

Hello Mr. Withington,

Thank you for your letter. I am afraid I disagree with you. The Government is trying to fulfil the request resulting from the referendum. Thus hopefully we will leave the EU and I have full confidence that all will work out well, and in accordance with the majority of those who voted.

Kind regards,


Dear Ms Hall, thank you for your prompt response. Is this really the best the modern Conservative Party can do?
You have not dealt with the points I raised, but I have come to expect that from Brexit supporters.
So let me ask you a few quick questions:-
1. We know the Leave campaign cheated in the referendum, but you are plainly not concerned about this. So how much cheating on the part of the Leave campaign would have to be established for you to say the 'result' could not be regarded as valid? Or would any amount of cheating be all right in your view?
2. We also know from your government's own figures, that any Brexit leaves us worse off. How big would the loss have to be for you to say we must not proceed with Brexit? Or would no loss be great enough to bring you to this conclusion?
3. You have 'full confidence that all will work out well', so if it proves that you are wrong and Brexit does make us poorer, do you promise to resign?
I look forward to hearing from you.
Yours sincerely,
John Withington

Sunday 2 September 2018

Brexitwatch: make UKIP honour its promise

On Thursday (6 Sept), the London Assembly votes on whether to throw its weight behind a People's Vote. On Friday (31 Aug) I posted an email I had written to Labour and Conservative members, but if you are a Londoner, you are also represented by two UKIP members, who are elected as 'Londonwide' members. So don't leave them out!

During the referendum campaign, Nigel Farage said that if the margin of victory was as narrow as 52% to 48% there would need to be a further vote.

As we know, it was actually tighter. So let's have that further vote - a People's Vote on the terms of Brexit. This is what I wrote to the two UKIP members, David Kurten and Peter Whittle:

During the Brexit referendum campaign, UKIP promised that in the event of a 52-48% margin there would be another vote, as this would be too narrow to be conclusive.
As you know, the margin was even tighter, and it is also plain that the Brexit that was promised cannot be delivered.
I call on you now, therefore, to throw your weight behind the campaign for a People's Vote and to support it in Thursday's vote.