Tuesday, 11 October 2016

A letter to my MP 10 October 2016

Dear Andrew,

Back in July, when I wrote to you following the referendum outcome, you said: "As we work for the best possible relationship with the EU, I will welcome as ever your thoughts and ideas." I am taking the opportunity to do that but I would also like to ask you for your thoughts and ideas about the point we have now reached. It has been a bruising few months for our country, for our economy, for our civil and political life, and for our constitution.

We now have a new PM and Cabinet pursuing a vastly different agenda from the one campaigned on only 18 months ago. It has been left to a group of concerned citizens with crowd-funding support to challenge the government's assertion that it can use the royal prerogative to trigger Article 50. The Government says that its 'Brexit' strategy must be kept secret and is resisting all attempts for there to be a democratic debate about the terms on which we negotiate. There is every indication that we will be pursuing a so-called 'Hard Brexit', which will be a disaster. This is 'dangerous overreach': it goes way beyond what may or may not have been mandated by the EU Referendum, leaving aside all the lies and disinformation that led up to it. It does not bode well for our country or for any future good relationship with the EU. 

I am still unpersuaded that leaving the EU will address any of the concerns expressed by Leave voters. The clear indications are that it will be bad for all of us. I am shocked that even holding these views is now considered to be somehow 'unBritish' and 'anti-democratic'. I am very, very concerned about this direction of travel and in particular about Mrs May's apparent desire to step aside from the international human rights' frameworks. Many people who voted Remain now say that they feel embarrassed by our country and afraid of where we are heading. It also shocks me that virtually no politicians have had a word for the '48%', other than to say that we must help to make 'Brexit' happen and help make it 'a success' (whatever that means). But even if we wanted to 'get behind it' what is there to get behind? It seems what is meant is that we must 'put up and shut up' while our economy nosedives, our rights are removed and and so-called 'foreigners' are scapegoated. To describe these as 'dissenting' views and then seek to silence and oppress their expression is a very dangerous polemic.That it is coming from our Prime Minister is frankly scary. The Government is disregarding its own definition of  'fundamental British values': Democracy, Individual Liberty, Rule of Law and Tolerance.

In my view we still need Parliamentary involvement in the decision when or whether to trigger Article 50, a vote on the nature of the deal if we really are so foolish as to pursue leaving the EU, and proper scrutiny of the Government's proposed Great Repeal Bill, which will 'put up for grabs' any number of our rights and protections. As an MP you have a duty to act in the national interest as well as represent the interests of your constituents. We need some reassurances and some sign that Parliament is going to step up.

I look forward to hearing your view of this situation and what will you be doing to hold the Government properly to account.

Kind regards,