Second EU Referendum

Exiting the European Union – in the House of Commons at 12:00 am on 25th October 2018.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk 12:00 am, 25th October 2018

What the Government’s policy is on holding a second referendum on the UK leaving the EU.

Photo of Suella Braverman Suella Braverman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

After sustained public debate, a clear majority of the electorate voted to leave the EU in June 2016, with the highest number of votes cast for anything in UK electoral history. We must respect both the will of the British people and the democratic process that delivered that result. As such, it is a matter of Government policy that there will not be a second referendum on our exit from the EU.

Photo of John Lamont John Lamont Conservative, Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

I am grateful to the Minister for that response. As someone who voted remain in that referendum, I was naturally disappointed by the result. But I am also a democrat, and it is important that we all respect the results of all elections, regardless of whether we win or lose them. Putting aside the questions on the so-called “people’s vote” and what it would actually achieve and deliver, does she not agree that it would undermine fundamental principles of democracy in this country?

Photo of Suella Braverman Suella Braverman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

My hon. Friend makes his point skilfully. People trusted that their voices would be heard, and to ask the question all over again would be a betrayal of our democracy and of that trust. Whether on Brexit or on Scottish independence, politicians north and south of the border should think twice before they choose to let people down in this way.

Photo of Barry Sheerman Barry Sheerman Labour/Co-operative, Huddersfield

When are this Government going to wake up to the madness of where we are? There is no deal I can see coming from Europe that will look after my constituents better than remaining in the EU. Whether it is through reasserting parliamentary sovereignty or having a second referendum —yes, I was out on the march in Parliament Square on Saturday—can we please have a Government who wake up to their responsibilities and look after the future of this nation?

Photo of Suella Braverman Suella Braverman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

Looking after the future of this nation means respecting the democratic voice of this nation. Yes, 700,000 people marched on Saturday, but 17.4 million people voted to leave, and we do not simply ignore their voices just because we do not like what they said. I ask the hon. Gentleman, who obviously supports a second referendum and, worse still, one that would have remain as an option, to take a long, hard look in the mirror and ask himself whether he can truly call himself a democrat.

Photo of John Bercow John Bercow Speaker of the House of Commons, Chair, Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, Chair, Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, Chair, Commons Reference Group on Representation and Inclusion Committee

I should say to Mr Sheerman that I was speaking at a theatre in Colchester last night and I referenced him in the course of my remarks. Knowing that he is not altogether averse to a focus upon himself from time to time, I think he would have enjoyed my observations.

Photo of Graham Stringer Graham Stringer Labour, Blackley and Broughton

Does the Minister agree that, if the 2016 referendum is not honoured, a second referendum would have no credibility whatsoever?

Photo of Suella Braverman Suella Braverman The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right. This is not the best of three. It is not about, “You keep trying until you get the result you want.” This was a historic vote, when millions of people put their faith in democracy. To do anything other than revere that vote would undermine democracy and cause a collapse in that faith.