A fascinating Speech for residents of Sussex and beyond


Jon MarksEvery few days I check out some of the speeches from Parliament that I am alerted to because of reference to certain key words or certain people speaking. Sometimes some of the speeches act as provocation to raise concerns in my blogs but occasionally a speech rises up as being worth a bit of promotion without the need for any comments.  Jonathan Marks is Baron Marks of Henley on Thames and a Liberal Democratic Peer who was speaking in a debate in the House of Lords on Thursday on the theme of our departure from the European Union in 152 days time based on today’s date. He made two references to the residents of Sussex and indeed to one of our MEPs so it seems worth a read to me:

“My Lords, I say to those who take the view of the noble Lord, Lord Lamont, that to permit voters to change their minds in changed circumstances if they wish, or to stick to their guns if not, is an affirmation, not a denial, of democracy. Others have spoken of the lack of clarity of the leave campaign. I debated against Jacob Rees-Mogg, who promised the students of Sussex University—who were largely unimpressed—a global Britain, free trade deals and an end to free movement, while Daniel Hannan MEP courageously told a more reactionary Eastbourne audience that he favoured staying in the single market and continued freedom of movement.

 The Government’s position is now clear, unachievable as it may be: leave the customs union, leave the single market, no hard border with the Republic, and one regulatory framework for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK. Without all that, they say there will be no deal, with all that that means for jobs, travel, borders, food, medicines and so on, yet the Government will deny the people any further say. They say Parliament will have a meaningful vote, defined by the Minister as a vote between deal and no deal. But what if there is no deal? What would the meaningful vote be then—no deal or remain? Could Parliament alone legitimately overturn the 2016 result? It certainly could not insist on a return to the negotiating table; it is too late for that, and it would not achieve anything. Will the Minister give us the answers?

So what are the prospects? Will the EU back down on a backstop? I believe no. We agreed it in December, and for the EU, it is fundamental. Will an extension of the implementation period that is time-limited or terminable at the UK’s will make any difference to the EU? I think not. Will the Government back down on our remaining in the customs union indefinitely? Plainly not. Will the Government back down on a single regime for Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK? No, they would lose the support of the DUP if they did and could not govern.

If there is no deal, would not the Government’s best way out be a referendum between no deal and remain, rather than risk losing a confidence vote? The Fixed-term Parliaments Act is hardly relevant here, because no other Government could be formed within 14 days. Along with the noble Lord, Lord Kerr, I believe that we would get an extension to hold a referendum. It would also be in Labour’s interest, given its divisions, to commit to a people’s vote. Its favoured general election would inevitably and rightly be concerned with multiple issues facing our country, not just Brexit.

If we get a people’s vote, may we talk about the issues with more respect than last time for the rules, the truth and each other—not just about the economy, but about peace and international co-operation, the environment and climate change, cross-border security, education and research and the value of freedom of movement to our young people? Let us be ambitious for our country and for our continent.”

About ianchisnall

I am passionate about the need for public policies to be made accessible to everyone, especially those who want to improve the wellbeing of their communities. I am particularly interested in issues related to crime and policing as well as health services and strategic planning.
This entry was posted in Brighton & Hove, Education, EU Referendum, Parliament and Democracy, Youth Issues and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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