Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
Tel. +44 (0)20 7287 4414
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.
The Bruges Group spearheaded the intellectual battle to win a vote to leave the European Union and, above all, against the emergence of a centralised EU state.

Bruges Group Blog

Spearheading the intellectual battle against the EU. And for new thinking in international affairs.

The sovereignty of the people trumps the sovereignty of Parliament


Labour supporters should ask themselves, what if Labour wins the next election by, say, 1.3 million votes or fewer? Would they mind if the establishment decided that it was not a valid victory, because it was too close, or because Jeremy Corbyn allegedly lied when he said that he might give more money to the NHS, or because there was, allegedly, Russian interference, or because nobody voted to become poorer? So, they shouldn't mind if the establishment overturns the vote.

After all, by calling for a second vote and for staying in the Customs Union and the Single Market, the Labour party has set a precedent for overturning majority votes. Aren't Labour party socialists supposed to be the ones who believe in changing things by voting?

The Labour party claims that Brexit is just a Tory plot, so, fighting Brexit is fighting the Tories. No, the last four Conservative Prime Ministers all backed the EU – Mrs Thatcher signed the Single European Act and said in her famous Bruges speech, "Our destiny is in Europe, as part of the Community." John Major signed the Maastricht Treaty. David Cameron and Theresa May both campaigned to stay in the EU, incompetently, yes, but that is what they did.

The Labour party claims that backing Brexit would only help Boris Johnson to become PM. That is the same defeatism that led the TUC to rely on the EU to help defeat Mrs Thatcher. That worked well, didn't it?

The Labour party likes to claim that the EU defends workers' rights from the Tories. Oh right, so who's attacking Greek workers' rights? The Tories? Who's attacking Romanian workers' rights? No, these are EU attacks.

The Labour party is for the EU, for its Customs Union, for its free movement of labour. It is against the trading-on-WTO terms Brexit which is the only Brexit.

The Labour party claims that we can reform the EU, make it a force for progress. Really? So, which EU body would impose these progressive policies? The unelected Commission? The powerless, toothless Parliament?The austerity-enforcing European Central Bank? The anti-trade union European Court of Justice?

Jeremy Corbyn recently wrote to Mrs May asking for 'A permanent and comprehensive UK-wide customs union' with 'a UK say on future EU trade deals'. But you can't have a UK say on EU trade policy inside the EU's Customs Union because EU treaties give the EU the power to make the EU's trade policy.

Corbyn asked for 'close alignment with the single market' 'underpinned by shared institutions and obligations'. 'Shared institutions'? That means staying in the single market.

He asked her for dynamic alignment on workers' rights and protections so that UK standards keep pace with evolving standards across Europe. So, whenever the European Court of Justice rules against workers' rights, as it has done again and again, we must align – ever so dynamically of course – with the Court?

The Labour party calls for a second people's vote, but the House of Commons has voted against this – the Labour party is jumping onto a sinking bandwagon. The Labour party rightly fears that the Leave side would win again.

The Labour party calls for a general election. A general election would just delay the decision not resolve the crisis. The only way to resolve the crisis is to make MPs do what they pledged to do and leave, as Mrs May told MPs 108 times that we would. Yet she told Chancellor Merkel that Britain would rejoin the EU.

John McDonnell said on the 3rd March, with a straight face, "People have had enough of politicians who say one thing and actually do another." Yes, I think we can agree with him there.

The EU does not respect our democratic vote to leave it. Chancellor Merkel says she will do all she can to stop us leaving. Business leaders, the European Commission, the government and the Prime Minister are still trying to bully us to stay in the EU. In January, Chancellor Philip Hammond had his famous talks with the heads of various transnational companies, who clearly told Hammond to stop Brexit by extending Article 50.

The Prime Minister tried to bring the same motion to Parliament even after it was defeated twice, using threats and bribes, trying to blackmail us into backing her Agreement, threatening that if we don't, we will not leave. This is all clearly an abuse of executive power.

MPs have thrice voted down her Agreement, voted to block 'No Deal' and voted to delay leaving. But these last two votes are not binding. They do not change the law. As Monsieur Barnier observed, "voting against no deal does not prevent it from happening. Everyone should now finalise all preparations for a no-deal scenario." Which he sees as a threat, while we see it as an opportunity. The default legal position is still that we leave.

The EU will not allow an extension for no purpose. What would be the purpose of yet more delay? Another referendum, as some EU leaders want? So, if she could get Parliament to pass a new law changing the exit date, we would not leave on the 29th. But could she get such an act through the House of Commons? Would Conservative MPs back another referendum? Would the Labour party want to associate itself with such a historic betrayal?

If the EU wants us to have another referendum, it would have to extend past 2nd July, which would mean we would have to join in the EU elections on 23rd-26th May. Elections, in which, senior Tories agree, the Tories would do very badly. And we would have to pay, in mid-April, the full 2019 EU budget contribution. The EU would be happy to get our money, as usual, but would not be very happy about our sending MEPs to Brussels again.

Theresa May has finally abandoned all pretence that she aims to deliver Brexit. Instead, she has signalled her intent to allow this Remainer parliament to make the running, in the full knowledge of where that will lead.

She has abandoned control. From now on all the deadlines will be set by Brussels. Article 50 is supposed to be a joint process, but the EU is now clearly in charge.

In 2018 the UK parliament passed a Withdrawal Act setting 29 March 2019 as our date to leave the EU. Now 12th April is the default. But the PM may again try to change that date by fiat – binning a promise she gave to parliament 108 times - without debate, without a vote, without even telling her Cabinet. Mrs May had already told the EU that she is changing the date – even before Parliament has passed the necessary law! The EU at once, unsurprisingly, agreed to her unconstitutional request.

So, without having to change a law that was passed (by a huge majority) in Parliament the EU and the Prime Minister have just tried to change our policy. The extension also makes us liable to pay into the EU budget for the extended period. To incur such a financial liability without a vote by the House of Commons is unconstitutional.

Even if Parliament were to vote against another proposed extension, Mrs May has used executive power to repeal an Act of Parliament and to raise revenue to send to the EU, just as Charles I tried to raise Ship Money to bypass Parliament. She is a rogue Prime Minister.

Will parliament vote for this act of betrayal? Any MP from any party who does so, will be knowingly betraying the decision of the British people to leave the EU.

The day that May set off for Brussels the Trades Union Congress made a joint statement with the Confederation of British Industry calling for an extension to Article 50 in order to delay Brexit. Their joint letter referred to the Brexit as a 'national emergency'. Another act of treachery from the TUC, which like parliament promised to respect the result of the referendum, and which like parliament lied.

A group of young entrepreneurs dissented from the CBI position, but trade union dissent has yet to make itself heard. The TUC has three so-called 'tests' for a Brexit agreement. None of these tests mentions the freedom, denied by the EU, for the country to control and invest in its strategic industries and services. Who does the TUC represent any more? It does not speak for the interests of working people.

Up and down the country ordinary people are doing it for themselves and taking a range of actions to ensure our democratic decision is honoured. This must continue and intensify. The people of Britain must take responsibility for Brexit: we can rely on no one else.

So much for Parliament. What about the world outside Parliament? May's Deal is a very bad deal, as most people agree.

A YouGov survey taken on 7-8 March found that the majority thought that MPs should reject May's Deal, 41 per cent to 26.A ComRes poll reported on 26 March found that 41 per cent said that we should leave on WTO terms on 29 March, with 28 per cent disagreeing.

We should celebrate the strength of our people in the face of the relentless bombardment of doom and despair. So, keep calm and proceed to the exit.

Some pro-EU people falsely accuse us of being agents of a foreign power, for Trump and America but at the same time agents of Russia. They falsely accuse us of relying on base emotions and ignorance, that we want economic ruin, social breakdown, bodies in the streets. They falsely accuse us of allying with fascism – populism is not fascism, and we strongly dissociate from real fascists like Tommy Robinson.

They falsely accuse us of not being democrats, this often from Labour MPs doing their worst to overturn the democratic referendum decision. They falsely accuse us of being extremists, hardliners. No. the EU wants a minority vote to prevail over a majority – extreme. The EU wants us to give it £39 billion for nothing in return – extreme.

Leaving the EU is Britain's great opportunity. The only way forward is to struggle for independence, respecting and encouraging the popular demand for independence.

We must make MPs do what they promised to do. MPs must be made to see that if they try to cheat us out of leaving, people won't vote for them and there may well be other forms of resistance. The government and Parliament have pitted themselves against the people. MPs want Parliament to rule over us, but their authority comes only from the people. We the people are sovereign over Parliament.

Parliament is not sovereign over the people. As constitutional expert Vernon Bogdanor stated, "The sovereignty of the people trumps the sovereignty of Parliament." In a democracy the people are sovereign.

When we the people leave the EU, we will be in a new situation – we will have taken control. We need to start building and rebuilding at once. Take control, end the EU blockage, clear the decks, get the Remainer MPs out of our way, invest the £39 billion here, end EU control over all parts of our society, protect our industries, services and environment, control the movements of capital and labour. ontain 

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Tel: 020 7287 4414
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The Rt Hon. the Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, OM, FRS 
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Chairman: Barry Legg
Director : Robert Oulds MA, FRSA
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