Steven Edginton is the Chief Digital Strategist at Leave Means Leave.
Parliament has lost the faith of the people. After yesterday’s Commons votes, it is no wonder new polling shows the public are increasingly frustrated with MPs. New Leave Means Leave polling undertaken by ComRes shows that 55 per cent of the public agree that Parliament is trying to stop Brexit, with just 19 per cent disagreeing.
Pro-Remain MPs claim what they are doing is in the national interest – suggesting that they are somehow superior to the electorate who put them where they are. This is having devastating consequences. One in five voters say they will never vote again if Parliament attempts to stop Brexit, including a massive 38 per cent of leave voters.
The way in which these MPs have behaved is a disgrace, and the public know it. Over half (53 per cent) of those polled agree that if MPs revoke Article 50 it could damage the democratic process beyond repair. Pro-Remain Ministers, backbenchers and opposition politicians have failed to uphold the basic democratic principle of accepting a free and fair election result.
Their excuses are pitiful. “They didn’t know what they were voting for… no one voted to be poorer.” This is the stuff of autocratic dictators who hold show elections, but continue to pursue their preconceived notion no matter what the result. The worst of it is that these MPs would probably quite like around four in ten former Leave voters never to vote again. They view these voters as stupid, not worth attempting to bring over to their side, and simply a formality to overcome.
Democracy in Britain has become a farce. That so many people are now willing to give up on our political institutions shows that never in the history of British politics has the Establishment gone so far to overturn what the people demanded. Never have those in power gone to the extent of ignoring the will of the people. They can use as many excuses as they like – pretences about bringing the country back together and compromising in the national interest. They have one goal: to stop Brexit.
But the public have had enough of the squabbling in Parliament – they just want to leave with No Deal this Friday. The ComRes poll shows that 41 per agree with the statement that ‘instead of delaying Brexit, Britain should just leave to trade on WTO rules on March 29’, compared to just 28 per cent who disagree.
Now is the time for the Prime Minister to listen to British public, and deliver on her solemn promise to bring Britain out of the EU on 29th March. Trust in her premiership is collapsing too, with just 14 per cent of Brits believing her deal honours what Leave voters wanted in 2016. If she breaks the two major promises she was elected on – that No Deal was better than a bad deal and that we would Brexit on 29th March – public faith in democracy will continue to collapse even further.
This could lead to huge apathy among voters, or people turning to extreme alternatives. If your vote is ignored, why should you ever vote again? Three-in-ten (30 per cent) support a new party who are tougher on Brexit taking over the negotiations with the EU if Theresa May’s deal is voted down again, including 44 per cent of leave voters.
There is appetite out there for a new kind of politics, one in which the people decide how their country should be run, not elites in Westminster. The traditional parties could be on the brink of collapse if they fail to deliver what they promised the electorate in 2017. Both main parties were elected on manifestos saying they would take us out of the Single Market and Customs Union. Now some MPs are using petitions and marches to justify their anti-democratic ideas. Again, the public are at odds with remainer MPs, with 52 per cent agreeing that petitions calling for Brexit to be scrapped are irrelevant compared to the 2016 result. That includes 28 per cent of former Remain voters!
The way in which Parliament has tackled this Brexit process will represent a permanent mark of shame on this period of British democracy. History tells us that when those in power actively and willingly ignore the people, tensions build up. It is now up to all MPs to remember their democratic duty to the electorate to deliver Brexit. We must leave on 29th March with No Deal: it is the only way public trust will begin to heal in our political system. May has one last chance to deliver on her promise. If not, the consequences could be fatal for her Government and party.