Masquerading as democrats, our Parliament is sadly now behaving like the European Commission

Masquerading as democrats, our Parliament is sadly now behaving like the European Commission

At the heart of Brexit is democracy and what it means. Democracy is ‘a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections’. When David Cameron called the EU referendum he vested supreme power in the people. We have yet to see this enacted. Initially those on the Remain side rushed to say they respected the result and I believe they did; however a minority of Remainers have not had the strength of their own democratic convictions to abide by that. The three years of delays have seduced them into seeing a way through to stopping the democratic process, using ‘No Deal’ as a ruse to stop Brexit.

We have this week had the startling news delivered via Angela Merkel that the EU would never ever allow Northern Ireland to leave the EU Customs Union. It’s a crying shame we weren’t told this on Day 1 and then we could have just spent the next six months preparing for ‘no deal’ and left in the autumn of 2017, sparing ourselves the two years of rancour.

For many of us who voted Leave, it was a decision about democratic control, who runs our country, transparency and accountability. We decided that the EU is none of the above. The negotiations have surely confirmed our view.

Let’s look at what has happened in the UK. Theresa May tried to keep us in the Customs Union that Mrs Merkel now tells us they won’t let us out of. This is directly against what was said in the referendum: we were told we would be able to do far reaching global trade deals which the Withdrawal Agreement prevented us doing by locking us in a Customs Union. For this reason Mrs May was destined to fail.

The ensuing leadership election for the Conservative Party was a democratic endeavour. Boris Johnson was elected by over half of the Conservative MPs and two thirds of the party members on a mandate of leaving the EU on the 31st October, do or die, deal or no deal. Yet within a very short space of time the 21 rebel MPs stripped of the whip (and Amber Rudd in her later actions) totally ignored the Conservative Party’s leadership election. Rory Stewart, as a leadership candidate, clearly set out his stall on TV and the various hustings for MPs. He did not win and in fact did not come close, with his votes falling back after a disastrous TV hustings.

The Conservative Party as a whole voted for Boris Johnson, his route out of the EU and vision for post-Brexit Britain. He stated he wanted a deal, but would be prepared to leave without a deal – believing that the second point made achieving the first far more likely. This is the path he has pursued. Yet as soon as they could the 21 rebels voted to take power away from their newly-elected Conservative Prime Minister and hand Commons business to the Opposition. This is not just voting against the whip but is actually a confidence issue, which is why the whip was rightly withdrawn from them. Sadly this demonstrated to me that these MPs refuse to acknowledge democracy. Their views were represented by Rory Stewart in the leadership campaign and he did not come close to winning. They have no mandate.

Sadly neither does the Speaker understand democracy. Speaker Bercow has clearly put his Remain views before his role of impartiality. He is there to adjudicate over the proceedings of the House. He has gone way beyond that remit and accepted amendments that block Brexit when they did not fit with the accepted criteria for amendments, he has abused the Standing Orders and worked with a cabal of MPs which has gone beyond offering objective opinion on procedure. He himself has admitted he will employ procedural creativity to stop a ‘no deal’ Brexit. In his latest wheeze he is now negotiating with the President of the European Parliament under an auspice only known to himself, but surely for his own aggrandisement. Speaker Bercow has brought his role into disrepute.

The Benn Act – what Boris Johnson rightly calls the Surrender Act – has been described as a parliamentary coup; but what it actually is, is a complete abuse of the power of the Office of the Speaker through use of the Standing Order 24 procedure, which is there to allow an emergency debate on a topic of the day, not an issue, Brexit, that has been ongoing for three years and Parliament has been mandated by the people to deliver.

At a fringe meeting that I attended at the recent Conservative Party Conference, Martin Howe QC said that there needs to be a Restoration of the Constitution Bill. I heartily agree. The Fixed-term Parliaments Act needs to be repealed. It was brought in as a political expedient, superseding a system that has brought us stable parliamentary democracy in the main since the Great Reform Act.

We have a Parliament that is holding hostage not only our Prime Minister but, most importantly, the people. Having reduced the Government’s majority to negative figures, Parliament will not allow him to ask the people. How dishonourable is that?

We therefore have a failure of democracy brought about by an amalgam of stakeholders refusing democracy and running a bureaucratic corporate management elite, dictating our future and only agreeing to let us out of their grip once we have acceded to their demands. This has been brought about by a group of MPs, the Speaker, the Lords and now the judiciary, with the Supreme Court perhaps going beyond its remit and leading us to now ask about the manner of their appointment.

The EU referendum was always about democracy and ultimately who has the final say in this country: the British people or EU eurocrats. We decided the British people, but our Parliament has not caught up with that yet. Our Parliament is acting exactly like the EU Commission. They masquerade as democrats, but they are in fact the elite dictating our future to us.

The EU’s mission is political integration. We have never voted for this and yet as members are dragged into this. It’s the same with our Rump Parliament: we did not vote to become a non-voting member of the EU, we voted to Leave properly and democracy will only be served when Boris Johnson is allowed to deliver that.

The biggest democratic vote in UK history may also serve to make us re-examine our archaic procedures and ensure they are fit for purpose for a bright democratic future outside the undemocratic management of the EU eurocrats.

Photocredit: ©UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor