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In 2016, 17.4 million people voted to leave the EU. Today, after almost three years, we still have at least six different Brexit versions in front of us. None of them was on the ballot paper for the people to vote for in 2016. Each defender of their Brexit option makes some claim that it represents the will of the people. That is why we need to test the will of the people in 2019 and to give them a specific Brexit option versus the option of staying in the EU.
Personally, I am pretty agnostic about what is a better or worse Brexit option. All I want to see as an outcome of today’s exercise is that whatever Brexit option we decide on here is put back to the people. The people might reconfirm that they wish to leave the EU, but in 2019, everybody who wants to leave the EU will know exactly what they are voting for rather than there being a long wish list of hopes, aspirations and undeliverable promises. Yes, referendums are difficult, but they are democratic. We should not be threatened by those who tell us that they will riot in the streets if there is another referendum.
On Saturday, between 1 million and 2 million people marched peacefully in the streets of London—young and old, from all backgrounds, from different political parties and none. Do they not count? Are they not the real British people, determined but polite? Does Parliament listen to people only when they throw stones or send us death threats? “Put it to the people” was a peaceful ask from the biggest march so far this century. Let us hold the 2019 people’s vote. Whatever Brexit solution finds a consensus in this Parliament must go back to the people. The people must finish what the people started.