With over 100 MPs poised to block a No Deal exit from the European Union, former Brexit secretary David Davis has warned that Remain diehards risk throwing Britain’s parliamentary system into chaos.
Analysis by The Sun newspaper indicates that over 100 MPs, many of them staunch EU loyalists who would not even agree to trigger Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in order to begin the Brexit process, are poised to back a parliamentary amendment by Labour’s Yvette Cooper, which would effectively take a clean Brexit “off the table” and pave the way for Brexit to be cancelled entirely.
“These MPs are trying to upend centuries of UK constitutional and Parliamentary traditions as they attempt to defy the referendum,” Davis warned in the Telegraph.
“This desperate move would fundamentally change the job of Parliament and pit it against the people… People voted for the UK to take back control. They did not vote to tear up the British constitution. It would be a dangerous development if a minority of MPs could overturn the will of 498 MPs who voted to trigger Article 50, not to mention the 17.4 million who voted for Brexit,” he added.
“Some of the present machinations bring our unwritten constitution and Parliamentary system into disrepute. They threaten the viability and integrity of the House of Commons as whole.”
‘To Hell with the Will of the People!’ – Four out of Five Sky News Panellists Oppose Brexit
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) October 15, 2017
Anti-Brexit MPs and their defenders often cite Edmund Burke, the long-deceased founding father of conservative philosophy, in attempting to justify their decision to ignore not just the will of the people but their own 2017 manifesto commitments.
Burke famously told his Bristol constituents that a Memember of Parliament owes his constituents “not his industry only, but his judgment; and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices it to your opinion”.
Often forgotten is the fact that the Whig philosopher also wrote that “in all disputes between [the people] and their rulers, the presumption is at least upon a par in favour of the people” in his Thoughts on the Present Discontents.
He also asserted that “the virtue, spirit, and essence of [the] House of Commons consists in its being the express image of the feelings of the nation… not instituted to be a control upon the people, as of late it has been taught, by a doctrine of the most pernicious tendency, [but] designed as a control for the people.”
It is also noteworthy that Burke spent most of his parliamentary career representing pocket boroughs, and was an MP at a time when few men and no women could vote — as historian David Starkey has pointed out.
84% of #GE2017 voters backed parties pledging an end to Free Movement/leaving the Single Market.
Huge endorsement for a clean Brexit! pic.twitter.com/KtVrn1skGa
— Leave.EU (@LeaveEUOfficial) June 9, 2017