We must stop ‘hard’ Brexit – and we still have the chance to do so


25 January 2017

Global Justice Now welcomes the decision of the Supreme Court that parliament must have a role in the triggering of Article 50. Brexit represents the biggest constitutional change for Britain since the Second World War. It is only right that the people and their representatives play the fullest possible role in mapping out how this will happen and what it will look like.

We are alarmed that the British government is taking an increasingly hard line approach on this issue – an approach which we believe endangers the fight against poverty, inequality and climate change both here and around the globe.

The policies which the prime minister set out last week in her 12 point plan precisely conform to the vision which we warned would result from a Leave vote last year. The numerous promises made by leading Leave campaign supporters – that Brexit would save the NHS, that we would not leave the single market, that Britons could continue to move and live wherever they want in Europe – have been ripped up.

The government’s vision is rather of a deregulated, offshore financial haven, and a country closing its door to people from around the world – with 3m EU citizens in the UK living in huge uncertainty. We believe this represents a disaster for workers, farmers, businesses and public services like the NHS.

Despite the rhetoric about a ‘global Britain’, this ‘hard Brexit’ also represents a danger to global struggles against climate change and for a more equal world. Government ministers' continued references to Britain’s role in the nineteenth century, and offensive remarks towards other European countries, suggest a less cooperative and even more exploitative approach to the world

In this context, we believe MPs have a good reason to halt the triggering of Article 50. As our allies in Another Europe is Possible have said:

“MPs only have one point of leverage over the terms of exit. And this comes when Article 50 is activated. Unless this leverage is used any democratic control over the terms of exit slips away. While Theresa May promised in her recent speech to bring the final deal back to Parliament, this amounts to setting a political trap. Parliament in that situation would be faced with a choice: either accept what will be – if Theresa May gets her way in Europe – a rotten deal, or crash out of the EU with no deal in place whatsoever. The government will put a revolver to the head of Parliament and force it to fall into line behind its disastrous deal.”

We do not believe in pretending the EU referendum never happened. But it is clear that the Leave vote is being used to justify the most regressive, far-reaching constitutional changes we have seen in generations. We do not believe this represents the will of the majority or builds the sort of country most British people want. Unless and until such a democratic process is agreed, we call on MPs to halt Article 50.

 

Another Europe Is Possible have written a template letter for people to write to your MPs calling on them to vote against Hard Brexit and Article 50.

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