January 2017 – Invoking Article 50

January 2017 – Invoking Article 50

I have received a large amount of correspondence from constituents regarding Article 50 and on the cases before first the High Court and subsequently the Supreme Court.  In light of the Supreme Court having rendered its verdict, please find here my reply as to how I will be voting and why:

As I have written to many constituents who asked my position following the vote of June 23rd, it is clear from the result that the people have voted to leave the European Union (including 60% of voters in Selby & Ainsty) and I will not support any attempt to re-run or overturn that vote, either in Parliament, by the courts, or via another referendum.  Parliament’s vital sovereignty flows from the legitimacy conferred upon it by the people, and therefore it would not, in my view, be legitimate for Parliament to overturn a direct vote by the citizens of this country, who are ultimately sovereign in our democracy.

On the 7th December, there was an Opposition-sponsored debate on a non-legislative motion on the Government’s plan for leaving the European Union.  The Prime Minister proposed an amendment, for which the House voted overwhelmingly in favour, endorsing the timeline of invoking Article 50 by the end of March this year.  The amended motion then passed the House with a large majority.  I am pleased to say that I voted in favour, both of the amendment and of the motion as ultimately amended.  This vote was taken after the case was already before the High Court.  It now remains for the Court to consider whether a Bill is, in its view, needed additionally.

While I thought the Government made a worthy case to the Supreme Court, I do respect their decision.  Now that Parliament will need to make a further vote, I will vote again to trigger Article 50 on the timescale that the Prime Minister has previously announced (by March 2017).  I expect the Government to uphold its commitment, published in the leaflets it distributed to every home prior to the referendum, to abide by and implement the result of the referendum.