Democracy is under attack from parliament

By April 18, 2019February 18th, 2021No Comments

The battle over how the UK will leave the EU is not just about trade
and the economy. It is a battle for Britain’s democracy. That
democratic tradition protects voters’ freedom to decide who governs
and how, bringing benefits both in times of continuity and those of
sudden change. It also allowed a majority to choose Brexit.
But, as Sheila Lawlor shows in Deal, No Deal? The Battle for
Britain’s Democracy
, this convention has broken down. In and out
of parliament and in the EU, the forces opposed to the decision have
sought to obstruct it. The Chequers compromise capitulates to these
anti-democratic pressures, says Dr Lawlor, because it allows goods
trade to remain bound by EU rules, though would leave services free
to flourish.

The government should now change course. It should believe in
Britain’s economy, the world’s fifth largest, and propose a mutual
recognition deal for goods as well as for services with the EU. Were
the EU to refuse, the alternative WTO option is both proven and
successful: trade under WTO terms already provides a solid base for
around 96 per cent of global trade. Both options would restore the
initiative to Britain. But more important, they would mean the
government had respected rather than scorned the voters’ decision,
and with it the tradition of British democracy itself.