richard pierce

richard pierce

16 November 2018

#PeoplesVote response to my letter from Daniel Poulter MP

Finally, more than three weeks after I wrote to him about a #peoplesvote, my constituency MP, Daniel Poulter, got back to me. His response is followed by my immediate response to him. Read and weep.

Dear Mr Pierce-Saunderson,

Many thanks for your e-mails, and my sincere apologies for not responding sooner.

The Conservatives won the 2015 election with a clear pledge to hold an in-out referendum, and then delivered on that pledge.  The voters were then promised that the outcome would be respected and implemented.  Indeed, in the follow-up election in 2017, 84% of voters opted for parties that pledged to respect the result and leave the single market and customs union.

Politicians are criticised enough for not keeping promises.  It is therefore important that the government do what they have pledged to do and leave the EU.  While there are clearly many who would like to see the result reversed, and would welcome another referendum, I cannot support that view.

It’s also worth bearing in mind that the EU membership we had is no longer on offer.  Having given our notice, the EU would be likely to exact very different conditions on our re-joining, including an end to our opt-outs, possible membership of the euro, and much higher contributions to the EU budget – without our rebate.  There is therefore no real option to remain, but only to go back in on different, less favourable terms.

This must be borne in mind alongside the general loss of faith in politicians and the reputation in our democracy that would come from holding another referendum, and the divisive nature of any such vote. 

I appreciate this is not the answer you were seeking, but hope it gives you an idea of my views on the subject.

Thanks again for your e-mail and my apologies for not responding sooner.

With best wishes

Dan

My response:

Dear Dan,

Thanks for finally getting back to me.

Unfortunately, your email doesn’t actually address any of my concerns, and indeed reads just like a formulaic rather than individual response to one of your constituents.

In fact, some of your statements are plain erroneous, I’m afraid to say. Nor do they address the issue that the referendum was “won” illegally, for which some of Leave’s main backers are now under investigation. These are really issues you and your party in government should be investigating with the greatest urgency rather than, as I said in my very first email, putting political pressure on the Metropolitan Police to investigate this electoral fraud. The fact that the Prime Minister has not denied that she refused to investigate Mr Banks when his activities were first brought to her attention some years ago throws this issue into stark relief, and makes the legal status of the referendum even more questionable.

As for your statement that the government pledged to respect the result of the referendum, it had no legal base on which to make this statement. Decisive (rather than advisory) referenda on what are essentially constitutional changes usually carry with them the requirement for a suer-majority of at least 66% of those who voted. This did not occur.

Thanks for calling the election in 2017 a follow-up election. Although a People’s Vote is not a follow-up referendum but rather a first referendum on the terms of Brexit (rather than a referendum on a very ill-defined and lied-about exit from the EU), your use of the terms puts the lie to politicians from both parties claiming that another referendum is unnecessary. Surely, using those parameters and definitions, a general election just over two years after the previous one would be similarly unnecessary. People are entitled to change their minds, and a significant number of people have changed their minds, and to progress down the route of a Brexit without allowing people to voice their views on the new deal would be denying the “will of the people” rather than carring out the “will of the people.”

As far as the result of that election is concerned, it is a common trope amongst Leave politicians to claim that 84% of voters supported Leave parties. At that point, the Labour Party’s position was even more unclear than it is now, and in fact the result could be interpreted in many differing ways, one of them being that Leavers voted Tory and Remainers voted Labour (and you cannot argue this is not so after having quoted a totally spurious statistic yourself). For the sake of clarity and completeness, I did actually say on BBC Radio today that as a life-long Labour voter I would not be voting Labour again unless they explicitly came out against Brexit and backed Remain.

Your comment about the EU membership we had no longer being on offer is also entirely incorrect. We have not yet left the EU. There are legal opinions that Article 50 can be wirthdrawn, wlthough the government is attempting to hide this fact from the public. As you know, Court of Session in Scotland recently heard the UK Government’s attempt to stop the Court of Justice of the European Union making a ruling on the revocability of Article 50, and denied that attempt. The UK government, your party in other words, continues to block publication of its application and papers on this case, thereby keeping even its own MPs in the dark, as well as the public. So your argument doesn’t hold water.

Lastly, as far as the general loss in faith of politicians you mention is concerned, I think blinkered and dogmatic responses like yours to a non-party-political concern of a constituent, responses in fact to a situation which endangers not just the lives of those in poverty, but the entire economics of the UK, as well as threatening the breakup of the Union, go a very long way to deepening that lack of faith.

Best regards,

Richard

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