Parliament v the people? Britain’s Brexit agony

The current agony over Brexit, which deepened further yesterday, is based on a simple proposition. The law states that on March 29, 2019, Britain will leave the EU. If the terms of separation aren’t agreed, the country must therefore leave with no deal.

Most MPs, however, refuse to countenance this. So they are indulging in fantasies. One is that the EU may soften its position on the Ireland backstop. If so, they say, they would support Theresa May’s deal. Really? What about the rotten rest of it?

Other Remainers just can’t understand why, having been told no-deal means apocalypse now, Brexiteers are still stubbornly standing firm.This merely reflects what is displayed by so many Remainers in the political and intellectual classes: a deep, visceral contempt for the people. Resentment against that arrogance helped produce the referendum result and it’s why so many Brexiteers are currently having the iron forged into their soul.

Unlike the French, thankfully, the British don’t go in for political violence. Their anger, however, now threatens to undo the compact inherent in representative democracy between governing class and governed. The 17th-century civil war was about parliament against the crown. We are facing the prospect of parliament against the people. If MPs don’t enable Britain to leave the EU next March, they risk provoking a constitutional crisis the likes of which this country has never seen.

To read my whole Times column (£), please click here.

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