Democ­racy will suf­fer if MPs do not de­liver on a true Brexit

We need to show the thou­sands of peo­ple who went to the polling sta­tion for the first time in the EU Ref­er­en­dum that their votes counted and will be re­spected, writes Steve Dou­ble

Western Morning News - - News -

Corn­wall has al­ways had a healthy anti-au­thor­i­tar­ian streak.

Look back at the An Gof Re­bel­lion and Bishop Trelawny’s in­fa­mous (at least on this side of the Ta­mar) 20,000 Cor­nish men who marched on Lon­don to de­mand the re­lease of their leader in the 17th Cen­tury.

This streak con­tin­ues to the present day.

In 2016 the ma­jor­ity of Corn­wall voted to leave the Euro­pean Union.

The mid-Corn­wall con­stituency of St Austell and Newquay that I am hon­oured to rep­re­sent had the high­est leave vote in Corn­wall.

How­ever, Brexit wasn’t just about leav­ing the Euro­pean Union.

The ref­er­en­dum vote was also about or­di­nary peo­ple, who felt ig­nored and marginalised, hav­ing their voice heard.

Events of the last six months have re­in­forced the rea­sons many voted to leave.

From my sound­ings both on the Cor­nish streets and on so­cial me­dia and the hun­dreds of e-mails I re­ceive on this sub­ject, peo­ple ev­ery­where are in­creas­ingly feel­ing that their voice is be­ing ig­nored and their vote was for noth­ing

The test for the po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment at this cru­cial time in our his­tory is to de­liver a Brexit most peo­ple be­lieve is a true Brexit.

We need to show the thou­sands of peo­ple who voted for the first time that their votes counted and will be re­spected.

Or will the es­tab­lish­ment once again over­ride the will of the peo­ple and say “we know bet­ter”?

At the heart of this is the is­sue of trust and the faith the pub­lic put in politi­cians and our demo­cratic rep­re­sen­ta­tives to de­liver their will.

Many peo­ple voted to leave be­cause of a deep mis­trust of the EU and its in­sti­tu­tions that seemed re­mote and de­tached from the lives of or­di­nary peo­ple.

We saw over the week­end with the com­ments of the French Pres­i­dent, Em­manuel Macron, on fish­ing and the fu­ture trade re­la­tion­ship, that this mis­trust is well placed.

Peo­ple voted for Brexit – a sim­ple yes/no to re­main­ing a mem­ber of the EU and im­plicit in that vote was their trust that politi­cians, peo­ple like me, would de­liver their demo­crat­i­cally voted re­sult.

The test for the UK Govern­ment and po­lit­i­cal es­tab­lish­ment now is to show they are trust­wor­thy.

The cur­rent with­drawal agree­ment and po­lit­i­cal dec­la­ra­tion does not re­spect the demo­cratic de­ci­sion of the Bri­tish peo­ple.

In fact, it has the unique and un­for­tu­nate dis­tinc­tion of uniting our di­vided land with al­most univer­sal dis­dain for the agree­ment.

I have had peo­ple who voted both leave and re­main get in touch with me ask­ing me not to vote for it.

There is a lot to crit­i­cise in the 585-page doc­u­ment. Lots of mumbo jumbo and de­tail that the lay­man might not un­der­stand.

But for me, cru­cially, this agree­ment does not take back our sovereignty.

For the first time the back­stop will put us in a po­si­tion where we be­long to a union we can­not leave un­der our own will.

This most cer­tainly is not tak­ing back con­trol and there­fore is not ac­cept­able to me.

Corn­wall also has a proud fish­ing tra­di­tion, sev­eral com­mu­ni­ties are within my con­stituency.

Sadly, I be­lieve the fish­ing com­mu­nity has been let down by this deal and left in a po­si­tion where the fu­ture con­trol of our wa­ters and there­fore the fu­ture of this in­dus­try is very much in ques­tion.

Within hours of the agree­ment be­ing ac­cepted by the 27 EU states, Mr Macron was on the air­ways mak­ing clear that he would not agree to us leav­ing the Cus­toms Union un­less we al­lowed French boats ac­cess to our fish­ing wa­ters.

There is a very real dan­ger of us be­ing locked into the back­stop and the EU hav­ing us right where they want us un­til we agree to their de­mands.

It is vi­tal for our democ­racy that we im­ple­ment 2016’s ref­er­en­dum re­sult in a way that is recog­nised as a true Brexit.

This is no longer just about leav­ing the EU – it is a deeper and more pro­found ques­tion about who rules the UK.

Is it the peo­ple – or the es­tab­lish­ment?

As MPs, we must re­mem­ber we are the ser­vants of the peo­ple. We rep­re­sent them.

We take our in­struc­tions from them.

They have put us here and they can take us away.

MPs now need to de­cide whose side to take, the es­tab­lish­ment, or the peo­ple who voted them in.

I have al­ways been clear that it is the peo­ple of midCorn­wall I serve and rep­re­sent, and it is to them who I will be ul­ti­mately ac­count­able.

I be­lieve if we lose sight of this, both we as politi­cians and the prin­ci­ple of democ­racy in the UK will pay the price.

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