On Wednesday evening, in the most emphatic manner, Westminster democracy delivered a blow to Whitehall dictatorship. Parliament will endure the Government’s Brexit shenanigans no more.
The most extreme and condescending of the Henry VIII powers the Govt. was seeking to grab in the EU (Withdrawal) bill was turned into a “meaningful” vote in Parliament by principled and persistent MPs who disclosed the whips’ methods.
David Davis had tried to head this off by offering each chamber of Parliament a largely meaningless resolution on the eventual exit agreement, as a sop supposedly evidencing that the Govt. had no intention to ignore Parliament.
As anybody with knowledge of Parliamentary procedure knows, a resolution, even of both houses, is not binding. A Govt. can easily ignore such parliamentary devices, as they have been doing for months now with various Opposition resolutions passed in the Commons.
The Govt. whips have gone to extraordinary lengths to persuade MPs to “toe the line”, to the extent that they have apparently threatened legal action against MPs who disclose the whips’ methods.
Wednesday’s result is the product of a great deal of effort and resilience by MPs, and the campaigners who have mobilised support for them, to make sure that Parliament and not the Govt. retains control of both the process and the final outcome.
This is what The People’s Challenge has been talking about for some time: Parliamentary Sovereignty. Our elected MPs are taking charge, as they have done before and will continue to do.
This is not the end of what we need to do. The Govt. is likely to try and reverse this vote before this bill receives Royal Assent and more Henry VIII powers are surely to come in future Bills, but it could be the beginning of “Taking Back Control”.
Thank you to all of you who have contacted your MPs to express your concerns about unrestricted Govt. powers, you helped tonights victory happen. If your MP supported amendment 7 congratulate him/her on making a stand on your behalf, if not, ask them why he/she did not support Parliamentary Sovereignty?
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Published by Grahame Pigney on behalf of The People’s Challenge Ltd.