If you opened the curtains and looked out the window to see one million people begging to be heard, would you listen? If you turned on the television to see streets completely inundated by citizens you have left in the dark, crying for help, would you lend a hand?
The answer to both questions, for any compassionate person at least, is ‘yes’.
This is precisely what the Prime Minister would have seen, had she looked out of her bedroom window in 10 Downing Street, and what members of Parliament saw on the TV this past Saturday — around one million citizens from all over the UK, coming together, to make one simple demand: that the people are given the final say on what happens with the future of Brexit.
The Prime Minister’s response was predictable. No ground given, no concessions extracted. Just the same cloth ears.
With the Prime Minister impervious to those pleas, Wednesday’s indicative votes gave Parliament the opportunity to take unimpeded, albeit short-lived, control of this mess. The Liberal Democrats used this opportunity yet again to push a ‘final say on the deal’, ‘People’s Vote’ or confirmatory referendum (take your pick of terminology) to the forefront of the argument and hopefully into action, just as the party has done so since the first day after the referendum. The fact that this proposal received the highest number of votes is another step along the road to achieving our goal.
The past three years have created a tremendous rift between government and parliament, and the rest of the UK. Citizens have lost both trust and respect for many of their elected representatives and feel misrepresented, deceived and unheard. The government’s shambolic handling of negotiations, and the wilful hard Brexiters who have dictated the path the Prime Minister is taking, have left the UK in the middle of a crisis, all of its own making. The public have been let down, and the only way to mend this rift —to reunite our country— is for Parliament to take control and give the final say to the public.
Last weekend’s march showed that people aren’t fed up of Brexit and don’t just want to get on with it, despite what the Prime Minister claims.
Instead they want a say in their future, and their children’s futures, as many feel theirs are being snatched away right now. The online petition to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU has already received well over 5.5million signatures at the time of writing, in less than a week, and is gaining more by the second. That level of support is a clear indication of a new found commitment, interest and belief in European cooperation too.
It is in the best interest of our nation and of future generations that Parliament uses the gift of indicative votes to seize control of the Brexit train and steer us to a safe haven.
The safe haven is the confirmatory referendum.
If passed this coming Monday, this would enable the will of the people to be reasserted and reestablished, 1,012 days after the 2016 referendum vote. The confirmatory referendum would provide the closure which the whole country is desperate for, with the certainty that if the people vote for the deal, that is what they get and if they vote to remain, they get to stay.
Tom Brake is the Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington