Theresa May has called for unity, but what she wants is unity behind a project she has defined. It’s not a project defined either by the referendum or by Parliament. According to some it has not even been defined by the government.
She is determined only to allow consideration of options that appease the UKIP-wing of her party and the right-wing press rather than pursue the outcome that is in the best interests of the UK and its people.
The challenge we face is to convince Parliament to consider all options when deciding what is in the best interests of all the UK’s nations. When the time comes, Parliament needs to make an objective assessment of the comparative merits of an exit agreement, no exit agreement, or the UK’s continued membership of the EU.
The UK’s Parliament has the sovereign authority to evaluate all the options when the outcome of the Art.50 negotiations is known. The Government has a mandate to negotiate terms. It does not have a mandate to sign off on them.
For those who insist that the Government has the right to determine what Parliament considers we simply point to The Three Knights opinion, which we commissioned and the preparedness of The People’s Challenge to ask the courts to adjudicate on this point of law if necessary.
We have long fought for the principle that the UK’s Parliament must decide what is in the best interests of the UK. That is why we joined with others to challenge the Government over its proposed use of archaic Royal Prerogative to trigger Art.50
We now need a cohesive collaboration built around those initiatives & groups that have succeeded, plus our more progressive friends in Westminster, to ensure an objective assessment of all the options following the Art.50 negotiations.
This has already started, a number of groups regularly sharing ideas and information.
The groups involved cover a wide spectrum of interests including:
- those who are concerned about the side-lining of the UK’s Parliament and the consequent concentration of power in the hands of the executive;
- others who are seeking ways to encourage people to engage in the democratic process we have in this country ;
- yet others who are concerned about the prospect of the UK crashing out of the EU without an exit agreement.
These groups do not need to agree on every aspect of the way forward. They will need to find the greatest possible commonality of interests. Some groups have a very high profile; others are less visible.
Building on shared objectives strengthens us, focusing on differences weakens.
It is only by building on the shared objectives that we stand a chance of salvaging a strong, forward-looking United Kingdom from what could otherwise be unfolding over the coming months/years.