To Brexit or not to Brexit, that is the question hanging over the UK´s politicians at the moment. But, surely, the majority of people voted ‘Leave’ in the referendum; it must all be over bar the shouting.
Whatever that might mean for people with disabilities, whatever that might mean for the health service, whatever it may mean for anything, it is decided. That’s right, isn’t it?
Well, it is true that the referendum resulted in a Leave vote but that certainly does not need to be the end of it – because the vote was only advisory and is not legally enforceable. So, parliament could, and I stress could, decide to reject that advice.
The House of Commons has more pro-Europe MPs than antis. If a proposal to leave Europe is put to a vote, they have enough votes to defeat it. And since the referendum was such a close run race with the majority for Leave being so small, just 3.8% of those who voted, who’s to say they wouldn’t?
Other MPs are demanding a House of Commons vote to try and stop Brexit altogether. Can they do that? Well, they could but the real question is, would they?
Already, pro-Euro MPs are saying that even accepting the referendum result, the voters did not vote to leave the single market or stop free movement. These are things that need to be negotiated independently.
To me, as the vote last Thursday was only advisory, I´d question whether anyone has the right to notify the European Union of the UK´s decision to withdraw -to activate Article 50. Only Parliament has the constitutional authority to take such a step and that means that the House of Commons has to be persuaded to agree.
Another problem for the Brexit team is that Scotland voted emphatically, by 62% to 38%, to remain in Europe. Scottish First Secretary and SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has warned that the Scottish Parliament will try and block the UK leaving the EU using an obscure legal mechanism even if it infuriates the English.
The First Minister said Brexit requires a legislative consent motion (LCM) from the Scottish Parliament as it impacts directly on Holyrood’s devolved responsibilities.
She confirmed that SNP MSPs would seek to block any such motion, even if this meant that this blocked the UK from leaving the EU, because this would reflect the overwhelming Remain vote in Scotland. Although the SNP is a minority government, a pro-Europe majority is guaranteed with the addition of six green MSPs.
Europe IN or OUT? You might have thought it’s all over – but it isn’t yet.