Richard House, who has no axe to grind either way on Brexit, as he deliberately spoilt his ballot paper in the 2016 referendum, proposes a solution to Brexit that does full justice to the closeness of the 2016 result, and would help to heal our divided nation:
- The Commons first formally affirms the result of the 2016 EU referendum – that the Leave vote currently stands, and should be respected and honoured.
- A new referendum (with clear choices offered) is held which is strictly advisory, with all options on the ballot paper – i.e.
Theresa May’s Deal,
A Labour Deal proposal,
or Leave with no Deal.
- People can vote by preference if they prefer (1,2,3,4). This possibly complex result will then be interpreted as objectively as possible by an appointed independent body.
- Results will be published for each individual constituency, so that MPs know the view of their constituents and will be honour-bound to faithfully represent their constituents’ decision in future Commons votes.
- All future Brexit Commons votes will be free and unwhipped.
- If the result of the second referendum is very close like the first one (say, 54/46 or closer, either way), the 2016 referendum result will be upheld and honoured.
- If there’s a substantial majority for Remain in the second referendum, the first referendum result can be overturned, with the agreement of a free vote of MPs.
- Conservative and Labour Parties must agree before the 2ndreferendum is held that they will work together to honour the procedure set out above.
Such a procedure would mean that all sides are honoured and respected.
Specifically: the 2016 referendum result would not necessarily being overturned by a second referendum unless there were a dramatic shift of opinion towards Remain; and both Remain and Brexit supporters will also again have the opportunity to take their case to the country.
Only a procedure on these lines offers any hope of saving the country splitting asunder, with the social unrest that could possibly ensue if either side were to feel ignored and their concerns sidelined.
All politicians have a grave responsibility to do everything possible to ensure that this national schism doesn’t happen – and the above scenario, or something like it, is by far the best way of avoiding it.
Dr Richard House