If MPs don’t deliver Brexit as promised, I fear for the future of our democracy

If MPs don’t deliver Brexit as promised, I fear for the future of our democracy

Life is unpredictable. A year ago, with a newborn baby, returning to politics could not have been further from my mind. Even six months ago, I still held hope that Theresa May would deliver her promise of us leaving the European Union on 29th March. She had repeatedly said no deal was better than a bad deal and foolishly I still believed she would act accordingly. One by one the straws fell. Her deal was appalling; we didn’t leave in March; she opened talks with Jeremy Corbyn and considered keeping us in the Customs Union; hundreds of MPs voted to take no deal off the table. This is not Brexit. It is betrayal.

Friends across the country cut up their Conservative membership cards. Labour Party members publicly shredded their local election ballot papers in protest at their own party abandoning them. Graffiti declared: “Don’t Vote – Act”. Democracy was dying and I felt unable to sit by and watch.

Having joined the Conservative Party in 1984, it was a wrench to leave but I could no longer support a party whose leader appeared hellbent on riding roughshod over the largest democratic vote our nation had ever seen. I couldn’t just not support it, I felt compelled to highlight that what it was doing, driven by Mrs May, was destroying it. Many Conservative friends – Leavers and Remainers who believe in democracy – have supported my decision to join the Brexit Party and stand in next month’s European Parliament election. Dozens have pledged to vote for me, despite maintaining their membership in order to have a vote for the next leader.

The extraordinary success of the Brexit Party – for which I will be fighting the East Midlands where I live – is a demonstration of just how much disillusionment in Westminster politics there is. No new party has ever previously topped the polls within a week of launching. As one neighbour said to me: “Thank you for standing here, I voted Leave but I’ve been made politically homeless.”

This is true of Leave voters up and down the country. We were promised our vote would be honoured and it has not been. It has been disregarded by remote, elitist politicians in London who believe they know better than the people who put them there. We, the people of the United Kingdom, everyone who believes in democracy must show them they are wrong. We need to change politics for good through the ballot box.

This is not a time to re-run the arguments about leaving or remaining in the European Union – we did that ad nauseam in 2016 and Leave won. Now is the time to unite behind our historic democracy, that we proudly exported across the world. Whether you supported Leave or Remain is no longer relevant – democracy is. We need to pull together to restore a belief in voting. One man, one woman, one vote: one say in how we are governed. It is not we, the voters, who have broken the pact, it is the politicians in their gilded cage in Westminster, talking in their echo-chamber, dismissing the people who make up the backbone of our country as fools. We are not – but even if we were – democracy demands that they listen to us.

Mrs May’s 2017 manifesto, upon which people voted and returned her to Downing Street, said: “We continue to believe that no deal is better than a bad deal for the UK”. As her deal is terrible, we must just leave. Leaving the EU on WTO rules is not to be feared, it should be embraced. 164 countries are signed up to WTO, accounting for 98% of world trade. Thanks to Most Favoured Nation rules, countries cannot discriminate against us just out of pique. Leaving the protectionist EU bloc would allow us to negotiate and implement free trade deals across the world – with countries which are growing rather than the stagnant and sclerotic EU.

If our parliamentarians don’t come to their senses and deliver the Brexit that they promised, I fear for the future of our democracy. The trust has nearly evaporated, but we can begin to rebuild it if they finally listen. This fight is as much about democracy as it is leaving the EU. We need to change politics for the better before it is too late. Our fight is just as important as the suffragettes and we must vote for the Brexit Party on 23rd May to ensure our country remains a truly Great Britain.