Word on the street: Withdraw Article 50 to give government more time on Brexit, writes Hampstead campaigner Jessica Learmond-Criqui
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Dear Prime Minister. We live in turbulent times. Your deal is not acceptable to Parliament and EU members give you no leeway.
Neither you nor Parliament will countenance a no deal scenario for which we are not ready. A second referendum before March 29, 2019, does not get us out of a no deal scenario if the result is still to Brexit.
That leaves only one option – accept the generous gift from the European Court of Justice to withdraw the Article 50 notice with no strings attached. The ECJ’s decision does not prevent you serving Article 50 again in the future to give effect to the results of this or other referenda.
Withdrawing the notice has the merit of giving you time to have a well earned break from the querulous factions in your party, not Brexiting with no deal and considering the option of holding a second referendum. If the second referendum result is still to Brexit, you will have time to prepare the country for a no deal Brexit.
This option also gives you space to address significant current failings in the government of our country, not least the chronic underfunding of our public services, the epidemic of crime, the failings of universal credit – the list is endless – all sacrificed at the alter of Brexit.
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I do not accept the argument of the Brexiteers that you just keep having referenda until you get the result that you want. Any well run business checks and rechecks its decisions. There is no bigger business than running a country. The referendum was not an election. It was a consultation to check the mood of the country. That mood should be rechecked, particularly given the expressions in the media of so many people who voted for Brexit who have changed their minds.
Leading Brexiteers ignored the Northern Ireland Gordian Knot and promised trade agreements in the twinkling of an eye. The harsh reality of the process has changed hearts and minds.
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There has been shock around the country observing a Parliament that has let the people of this country down. A worse than weak Labour party and a Conservative party at civil war have left the electorate queasy and disillusioned with our democratic system. I say the whole Parliament because you set out the idea of the backstop in December 2017 at para 49 of the Joint Report – the blueprint for the Withdrawal Agreement. Where were the voices of condemnation and resignations then? Enjoying their 2017 Christmas turkey and ignoring the impending crisis in confidence in the outcome of that declaration.
MPs on all sides of the House, by their complacency, fundamentally failed the UK electorate. They must collectively take responsibility for where we are now. Each party is point scoring but the electorate as a whole points a finger at them all. You have at least two and a half years before you may need to make way for a successor to get their feet under the table before the next election. You have time to pull our country together and get the right result for us all.
I now call on you and on all MPs to arrange a vote in Parliament to withdraw the Article 50 notice. Once done, we can, together, work out where to go from there.