Most days in the Commons since the referendum the issue of Brexit has come up. There have been several government statements. There has been an Opposition day debate. There have been Questions to each of the 3 leading Brexit Ministers. There have been Questions to the PM. On Monday there will be another all day debate when MPs can range widely, expressing their views on how leaving should be handled and what should be in the negotiations. If the Opposition wanted a vote on sending an Article 50 letter they can have one on any Opposition day they like.
The fact that the Opposition have chosen not to hold a vote on Article 50 implies they accept it and realise the government has to send one. We don’t need lawyers to give MPs the right to talk about or vote on anything they like! It’s up to the Opposition to say what they are going to do.
Labour and other political parties hostile to Brexit also claim the government is refusing to set out its high level aims. They all claim to agree that in a negotiation it is not wise to set out in advance what you will give ground on, what your red lines are and the all the rest. Nor does it make any sense to offer any concessions before the proper negotiation begins. Within this constraint the government has been very forthcoming about what it intends to do to implement the wishes of the voters.
Ministers have said
There will be no re run of the referendum. It was fair vote with a good turnout.
There will be no second referendum on the terms. There is no point, because the other side will not suddenly improve them if we vote No
We will leave the EU in accordance with the decision of the UK voters.
We will repeal the 1972 Act
We will transfer into law all EU laws and rules for the time being to ensure legal continuity.
Amendments will be made thereafter where needed, as with fishing and borders.
This government will keep all employment protections currently in EU law by transferring them into UK law
We will re establish the supremacy of UK law and the UK courts
We will re establish the sole right of Parliament to pass laws for the UK, subject to the wishes of the electors in our democracy.
We will have a UK migration policy which meets our needs
We will spend our own tax revenues in ways we see fit
We will seek the best possible access to the EU’s internal market, offering free trade as we currently have
We will assure all legally settled EU citizens here in the UK that they can stay, assuming no evictions of UK people from the continent
The UK will not be a member of the single market as that comes with freedom of movement and budget contributions attached
The UK will not belong to a customs union which prevents us from negotiating our own free trade deals with countries around the world
The UK will explore free trade deals with a range of countries, in order to reach early agreement and signature once we are out of the EU.
I have heard all of this many times in Parliament and elsewhere from the government. Why doesn’t Labour listen? What part of this do they not understand?
We need to reduce uncertainty for business. These set of policy decisions does just that. We now need to move on and do it.