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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.
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?
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
I am relieved to see that Rachel Maclean, who is a most assiduous attender in the Chamber, has beetled into the Chamber just in time. This is very good news.