EU Referendum: only Parliament can sort out this mess

Here is a letter a friend sent to their MP. Let’s all write similar letters to our MPs. Parliament can fix this if enough MPs show enough political courage. This is the only way to rescue our country from the mess we are in following last Thursday.

Dear X

I am one of your constituents. My family is devastated at the result of the EU Referendum. In particular my three children, aged 16, 18 and 20, feel utterly betrayed. They believe that their future opportunities have been gambled away.

Very occasionally Parliament has stepped up and taken the initiative on an important issue of public interest (as it did for example with the English smoking ban in 2006). I don’t believe there will be during our lifetimes an issue of greater public interest than this. So I would like to appeal to you and your fellow parliamentarians to take action and fix this desperate mess before it is too late for our country and our children.

Neither side covered themselves in glory during the campaign. But it was the mendaciousness of the Leave campaign together with the promises they made which have left me, my family and millions of others feeling that a great injustice has been done. I don’t feel any particular rancour towards those who voted Leave; I do feel immensely angry that so many of them will have done so in response to acampaign based on falsehoods and undeliverable promises. These are already well documented and I am sure you are only too aware of them, but I list some of the main ones below.

The sheer extent of the deceit that has been visited on British voters is going to become tragically apparent when the economy goes back into recession; tens of thousands of jobs are lost; the next Prime Minister invokes Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and discovers how meagre the offer from Brussels will be; Scotland legislates for a second independence referendum; and our broken nation discovers too late that it was all a fantasy.

In most walks of life this would be considered a gigantic case of mis-selling. If the financial institutions, car manufacturers or oil companies were responsible for a fraud on this scale, the courts and regulators would force them to rectify the injustice and pay billions in compensation. People might even go to jail. But none of that happens when it’s a referendum asking the most important question of our lifetimes about the future of our country.

But we are supposed to be a strong parliamentary democracy. Parliament is supposed to be sovereign (even though referendums undermine that sovereignty). Parliament is the only body that can fix this and it has a duty to do so. Moreover I believe it really could do so, given the political will. I believe there would be a substantial majority in the House of Commons (if MPs showed sufficient courage) to censure the Leave campaign, legislate to suspend the result of the (non-legally binding) referendum and find a fair and balanced way forward (which might or might not involve another referendum — conducted truthfully and fairly).

Once Article 50 is invoked the United Kingdom is on a legally irreversible path to leaving the EU. If we ever attempted to re-join we would have lost our budget rebate, our euro opt out, our Schengen opt out, all the hard won benefits that have given us our unique and enviable status in the EU. So it’s urgent and I urge you to act now.

Three of the main falsehoods

· £350m a week being sent to Brussels

· Turkey joining the EU

· Brussels setting up an “EU army”

Four of the undeliverable promises

· the NHS “Leave dividend”

· matching EU regional development funding at existing levels from central government

· achieving tariff-free access to the EU Single Market without accepting free movement

· negotiating better bilateral trade deals with the rest of the world than the EU

(although it is breath-taking how quickly those who led the Leave campaign are already rowing back from some of these)

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