Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

Democracy or Tyranny: Which will Members of Parliament choose?

There are only two forms of government – government with the consent of the People or government without the consent of the People. 

Charles Moore wrote yesterday[1] :

"On Thursday, I was interviewed by a mainstream Swiss newspaper. Switzerland, of course, is not a member of the EU. The reporter's first question went something like this:

'My country is a democratic country. We always enact the result of our referendums. We greatly admire your country, especially your House of Commons. Please can you explain why it is refusing to enact what the people decided? Your MPs who do this seem to us to be enemies of the people.'

Members of Parliament are against the people. What have the People done to deserve such aggression, such oppression? It is simply this:

  • 1. Members of Parliament, delegated the decision as to whether we should leave the EU to the People in the form of a referendum;
  • 2.The People voted to leave;
  • 3. Members of Parliament, did not like the result; and now
  • 4.They refuse to implement that decision despite solemn promises to do so.

The irony is that Members of Parliament are using against the People the very powers which belong to the electorate and which are only lent to Members of Parliament: those powers are to be returned to the electorate at the dissolution of Parliament undiminished and intact.

The so called crisis between the government and Parliament and the Speaker is nothing compared to one really important Constitutional crisis, namely that between the People and the House of Commons – as the Swiss journalist so saw.

Charles Moore continued:

"Often, over many years, we have complained at the way MPs are "lobby fodder" for a government. They take too much lying down. What finally stirs hundreds of them to stand up and fight? The largest vote for anything in British history. They are determined to stop it being implemented! They pass a law asking us to decide our national future. They promise to abide by the result. We then decide. They then block the result of our decision. I'm afraid my Swiss questioner is right".

He continued:

"…that 498 MPs, led by the front benches of Tory and Labour alike, voted, at second reading, to trigger Article 50. It became the law of the land which we have been working through ever since.

Article 50 prescribes that we leave and that, if we cannot get the deal we want, we leave with no deal. Mrs May, Philip Hammond, Greg Clark, Amber Rudd, David Gauke, David Mundell, David Lidington, Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell: all of them voted for the legislation which will come into effect next Friday. Yet none of them admits it, and most say that no deal would be "a catastrophe".

The no-deal option is like the referendum itself: the front benches voted for it, and then devoted their energies to trying to stop it".

As for Mrs May 'deal', Charles Moore writes:

"No supporter of Brexit would have constructed Mrs May's deal. It could have been expressly designed – indeed, by the EU, it probably was – to turn us from unhappy full members with some rights, into subjugated semi-members with none".

Tim Stanley wrote in the Telegraph[2]:

"When Mrs May says that she is delivering what the people want – as she reiterated in the House – then by any standard of our democratic tradition, she is lying. No one voted for Chequers; no one voted for either an all-UK indefinite backstop customs union (since "indefinite" is what all backstops by definition are) or for an extended transition period. No one voted for the UK to leave, only to continue to abide by rules over which Britain will cease to have any influence."

I agree with every word of that.

Dan Hodges wrote[3] recently:

"I've worked in and around politics all my life. My mother was an MP. I've consistently attempted to fight the lazy caricature of British parliamentarians as venal, dishonest charlatans.

But you cannot fight for people who refuse to fight for themselves. What do MPs think they are doing? How have we got here?

Many MPs think that, by blocking all other avenues, voters will opt to stay, rather than risk No Deal. But they are dangerously deluded.

From a referendum in which 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union, to the point where former Ministers of the Crown are sneaking around the Palace of Westminster, convening surreptitious conclaves to conceive ever more complex procedural devices to undermine Britain's departure. …

In response to allegations they are mounting a coup against the British people, MPs reply: 'We can't be mounting a coup, we're democratically elected politicians.' Just as Nixon once claimed: 'When the President does it, that means it's not illegal.'

On February 1, 2017, the House of Commons voted by 498 votes to 114 to trigger Article 50. Many MPs who did so had not personally supported Brexit. But each one stated they were obliged to honour the will of the people as expressed in the referendum. Four months later, the vast majority were returned to Parliament on additional manifesto pledges to respect the result.

Yet, this week, those same MPs are preparing to stick two fingers up to their voters and, without any fresh mandate, 'extend' Article 50.

Or, in reality, kick the verdict of the British people into the weeds. In one respect MPs are right. They are not mounting a coup. Initiating a coup involves courage. It requires men and women of substance to take a stand. Instead they are missing in action. They have become parliamentary deserters."

Mr Hinds has been trotting out the same false Mantra which comprises the Madness of Mrs May: "we are delivering on the result of the referendum".

As for 'No Deal'; a senior and much respected member of the Conservative party told Mr Hinds:

"I have just heard you say in your interview on Radio 4 that the 'no deal' option is something that is supported by "really only quite a small group of people". That may well be the case if you are talking about members of Parliament - after all 70% voted to Remain; but you, your Cabinet colleagues and MPs all know full well that this is not so in the case of the electorate as a whole where there is a huge and growing number who take a very different view. …

I urge you to ask [your Cabinet colleagues] to look beyond the Cabinet Room and the Westminster Village and into the eyes of ordinary people who placed their faith in them to regain control of our affairs and restore our sovereignty. You know as well as I do that Mrs May's wretched deal doesn't do this, and is likely to fail even further once the EU has dictated in the next few days their additional terms for Mrs May's request for the short extension. There has to be a 'better deal' (which looks a million miles away) ...... or no deal".

I believe that you, Members of Parliament, all of you including Mrs May (with the noble exception of all those Conservative, DUP and Labour Members who have refused to renege on the solemn promises made to the electorate in the 2017 Conservative Manifesto), do not believe in popular sovereignty. I do not believe that you intend to deliver the result of the referendum; I believe that you are doing all you can to frustrate that result and this disastrous proposed withdrawal agreement is part of your effort. I do not believe that which you and Mrs May are telling me and the People about the proposed agreement. For me, just as Professor Tombs has written:

"The penny dropped when I read the vocal Remainer and former MP Matthew Parris in the latest Spectator[4]. For him, Brexit means "trusting the people": "I don't," he writes. "Never have and never will." Rejecting the idea of "an unseen bond between parliament and people", he sees its job as curbing "the instincts of the mob". The enlightened elite must govern by subterfuge if necessary".

The subterfuge which Members of Parliament, are engaged in include all the machinations which have been shown all too clearly[5] in the Commons over the last weeks – to be continued in the week ahead: all designed to avoid complying with the will of the nation. Members of Parliament are taking steps against their own electorate to destroy the sovereignty of the People and our democracy: using, let me repeat, the very powers which belong to the electorate and which the electorate have lent Members of Parliament for the duration of this Parliament only (to be returned undiminished at dissolution).

Amongst the weaponry which they are using against the People, is the threat that "If Mrs May's "deal" is not approved, the government will not allow the country to leave the EU (the very question put by Parliament to the People for a decision). That option is simply, under our Constitution, not available to Members of Parliament. They asked for and were given an instruction by the People to leave and they have no choice – the government and Members of Parliament must comply with the will of the nation.

William Hague (21 January 2008, Col 1254) said[6] in the course of debate on the Lisbon Treaty:

"My right hon. Friend makes a powerful point, because the case for the referendum rests above all on the need for the House and the Government to honour commitments solemnly given.

How many times have each of us in the House toured schools and colleges saying to young people that they should take an interest in politics, that their vote makes a difference, and that what is said at election time really counts?

What are we to say to them in future—that the fact that they elected an entire House of Commons committed to a referendum was of no account, that the Government regarded that commitment as a technicality to be escaped from rather than a promise to be kept, and that the promises made at election time do not really matter at all?

Today in our country, the word of Government is less readily believed than at any time in our modern history. Ministers, instead of tackling the apathy and cynicism that that brings, will only add to it with the weasel words with which they try to escape their referendum commitment".

The article "Will of the Nation" on the Bruges Group website shows that Members of Parliament have no choice other than to obey the instruction of the nation: that instruction was to leave.

Voting for Mrs May's deal ensures that a foreign power makes laws which are intended to be binding on the People of our country and that foreign power does so in the absence of any representation of our people: that is government without the consent of the people. There are only two types of government; that with consent of the people which is democracy or government without the consent of the people which is dictatorship or tyranny. If the May deal is approved by Parliament, Members of Parliament are doing that which none of your forebears ever did – to vote that a foreign power governs our people without their consent.

Abraham Lincoln said in his Peoria Speech, 16th October 1854:

"When the white man governs himself that is self-government; but when he governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government---that is despotism. … No man is good enough to govern another man, without that other's consent. …Allow ALL the governed an equal voice in the government, and that, and that only is self-government."

If Members of Parliament vote for Mrs May's "deal", each one of them must be in no doubt that by virtue of that "deal", Parliament is allowing a foreign power to rule over the People, including me, without the consent of the People.

Let me repeat, for the first time in our long history, Members of Parliament are seriously considering voting in support of a proposal that we, the People, should be subjected to tyranny and not democracy.

Comply with the will of the nation, as our Constitution demands: let the People rule themselves as an independent nation and leave on the 29 March 2019.

[1] Charles Moore, "What's at stake now is not just Brexit, but how we are governed as a country", Telegraph, 22 March 2019.

[2] Tim Stanley, The Telegraph, 25 October 2018.

[3] Dan Hodges, "I was a die-hard Remainer. But arrogant MPs have made me a hard Brexiteer", The Mail On Sunday, 27 January 2019.

[4] The Spectator, Matthew Parris, "Why I don't, never have, and never will trust the people", 15th December 2018: at .

[5] See the entire article by Dan Hodges, "I was a die-hard Remainer. But arrogant MPs have made me a hard Brexiteer", The Mail On Sunday, 27 January 2019.

[6] William Hague, Hansard, 21 January 2007, Col 1254)

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