The following is written by Molly Scott Cato, Green MEP for the south-west.
Our democracy has a nasty smell about it.
MPs are preparing to ‘hold their noses’ and vote for May’s deal; a deal that North Wiltshire MP and hard-line Brexiter James Gray described as ‘obnoxious’ in a recent interview.
But really it is our whole constitution and electoral system that is obnoxious. It pushes MPs to put party and ideology ahead of what is in the best interests of the country. It results in the South West region having 47 out of 55 Tory MPs elected on just half the popular vote. This has led us to a constitutional crisis.
Theresa May has put her deal to Parliament twice now and could have done so a third time had it not been for the intervention of the speaker John Bercow. He cited Parliamentary rules dating back to 1844 to block a ‘meaningful vote 3’. Whilst this was a hugely welcome intervention, it demonstrated just how archaic our Parliamentary procedures and constitution are.
But the irony of May’s strategy, and what an affront to democracy it is, has not been lost on many who have pointed out its one rule for MPs and another for the people. The PM can only ever get her deal across the line if MPs change their minds on her deal. Yet she is denying the people of the country a right to change their minds on Brexit.
The rational way out of our Brexit chaos is clear, we need to put it back to the people.
The Kyle-Wilson amendment can make this happen.
But Remain must also be on the ballot paper too. Recent polling shows that in such a referendum there would be overwhelming endorsement for our current deal as EU members.
Brexit has unleashed a constitutional crisis. Let’s turn it into an opportunity for major political reform. We need a fit-for-purpose written constitution relevant to a modern 21st century democracy and a fair and proportional electoral system.
Brexit has been the biggest political disaster I have ever witnessed.
But out of its ashes could emerge the constitutional changes necessary to prevent such a disaster ever happening again.