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The Political Ethics of Brexit

Briefings For Brexit Podcast

As parliament again debates the issue, ethical and constitutional questions are rightly coming to the fore.

As parliament again debates the issue, ethical and constitutional questions are rightly coming to the fore.  As most Leave voters have always known, the fundamental questions at stake go far beyond material considerations. Some Remainers in parliament wish to use what they consider their sovereign power to override the largest democratic vote in our history, without their ultimate goal being clear. 

  • Politicians in a democracy have a fundamental political and ethical duty to respect the choice of the majority
  • Parliamentary sovereignty, which is limited to the making of laws, does not legitimately extend to overruling a popular vote on a fundamental constitutional matter or to dictating policy; in this case, doing so would be breaking binding promises to the nation
  • Hard-line Remainers risk derailing the democratic process, causing lasting damage to our political system, deepening resentment, and stoking the fires of future populism
  • Brexit is an opportunity to improve the life chances of poor people in Britain and abroad and this cannot be ignored

Further information:

Prof Richard Ekins analyses the constitutional force of the 2016 referendum, and argues that to refuse to implement it would be ‘a profound betrayal’  https://ukconstitutionallaw.org/2016/06/29/richard-ekins-the-legitimacy-of-the-brexit-referendum/

Dr Thomas Simpson (Oxford) reflects on the moral issues that are at stake, and both the illegitimacy and the danger of despising ordinary people’s wishes: https://briefingsforbrexit.com/the-ethics-of-a-second-brexit-referendum-equality-trust-honesty/

Professor Robert Tombs (Cambridge) argues that for parliament to assume the power to overrule a legal popular vote backed by a general election goes far beyond its legitimate share of sovereignty https://www.telegraph.co.uk/opinion/2018/12/10/argue-people-didnt-understand-brexit-vote-undermines-parliaments/

Professor Richard Tuck (Harvard) accuses Remainers of doing much to create the present crisis and of now trying to use it to corrupt democracy https://briefingsforbrexit.com/a-second-referendum-just-what-the-wreckers-want/

Professor Ashoka Mody (Princeton) tells us that the economic scare stories are fake: it is our values, not false calculations of material interest, that should guide us. https://briefingsforbrexit.com/ignore-the-brexit-scare-stories-they-have-no-basis-in-sound-economics/

Pamela Dow shows how Brexit is a necessary step towards greater equality in Britain  https://briefingsforbrexit.com/how-brexit-can-help-us-tackle-disadvantage/

Dr Richard Johnson shows that Brexit provides an opportunity for a more ethical trade policy, which parliament should support, not oppose  https://briefingsforbrexit.com/new-customs-union-policy-is-a-missed-opportunity/

Dr Lee Jones warns that for the political class to sabotage Brexit would widen the gulf between politicians and voters, and for the Labour party, destroy its claim to stand up for the interests of the underprivileged  https://briefingsforbrexit.com/brexit-in-name-only-causes-and-consequences/

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Briefings For Brexit