Shame on Ken Clarke for holding the British public in such contempt

Shame on Ken Clarke for holding the British public in such contempt

It’s been encouraging over the last few days to hear an increasing number of Remain-supporting Labour politicians at their conference in Liverpool accepting the referendum result and resolving to make Brexit work.

As James Forsyth notes in today’s Spectator, “with influential Labour MPs such as Rachel Reeves, Chuka Umunna and Stephen Kinnock declaring that control over free movement should, if necessary, be put ahead of the single market, the political currents are moving in favour of full Brexit.”

Certainly there has been no serious talk of trying to reverse the result of the great democratic exercise conducted on 23rd June, in which 33,577,342 people took part. Indeed, the only time in British history that a greater number of ballots were cast on a single day was at the 1992 general election when turnout just topped 33.6 million votes.

So it is sad to see that the mandate achieved less than one hundred days ago is not being universally respected by politicians who ought to hold the democratic process in greater esteem.

Today, no less a figure than Ken Clarke has come out and announced to the New Statesman that he would continue to use any opportunity that arose in the Commons to vote against the UK leaving the EU. The former Conservative Cabinet Minister and veteran Europhile declares that it would be “laughable” for him to vote in Parliament “on the basis of an opinion poll”.

Last time I checked, opinion polls generally take the political temperature of the nation based on 1,000 or so respondents. The “opinion poll” to which he refers with such scorn was a referendum in which more than 33.5 million people participated.

That referendum has infinitely more credibility than any opinion poll and ought to merit the respect of anyone who believes in democracy. Shame on Ken Clarke for holding the British public in such contempt.