People’s vote policy
The “People’s vote” campaign is calling for a “Final Say” on our membership of the European Union. The people behind this campaign believe that 2 years on from the 2016 referendum, we need to vote again with a ballot that includes an option to stay in the EU, making it essentially a second vote in 2 years on our membership of the EU.
I have been contacted by many people asking me to support this campaign instead of supporting the Government's deal.
I do not and will never support this campaign. Below I expand on reasons why.
Firstly, as a democrat I believe Parliament has a duty to carry out the wishes of the UK electorate. In 2016 we asked the British people what direction they wanted their country to take. We set out in advance the parameters of the vote, making it clear that whichever option gained a majority of votes would be considered the winner.
Over 33 million people voted in that referendum on a turnout of 72%, the highest UK-wide turnout since 1992. Every single individual voted expecting the Government to honour the result, whatever it would be. They were right to expect this, as the Government had pledged to do so.
The Government cannot renege on this pledge and expect to get away with it. Millions of people would quite rightly see a serious misjustice and would become entirely disillusioned towards mainstream politics. This would likely lead to the election of the first populist to stick their head over the parapet and would destroy voter trust in Parliament for at least a generation.
Voting for a second time in 2 years on EU membership is NOT democracy. It would be a failure of democracy.
Secondly, as a Unionist the idea of holding a second referendum on a constitutional crisis alarms me. Like the vast majority of Scottish voters, I bear the bruises from two divisive referendums in 5 years, and I am keen to avoid further division in our society.
The fact is the “People’s Vote” would open the door to a second independence referendum. We in the UK Parliament cannot call “Indyref2” undemocratic if we had just agreed to hold a second referendum on a different subject.
I fully understand that many in Stirling voted to remain in the EU in 2016, and that many support the idea of a second referendum. However, largely the spirit seems to be "Just get on with it".
My message is be careful what you wish for. The “People’s Vote” would cause serious damage to our democracy.
You may disagree with the result, but we are committed to leaving the EU and realising the benefits that can be gained by doing so. Our children will vote for Governments that control all of our laws and policies, we will expand our horizons to free trade agreements with Japan, the USA, New Zealand and more, and we will tailor an immigration policy to benefit UK workers while maintaining the flow of skilled workers into jobs we cannot currently fill.
This is the manifesto I was elected on, and this is what I will do.