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Monday, September 14, 2020

The 2016 Referendum was NOT 'advisory' - my letter to The Spectator

Sent today, in response to last week's letter from Tim Ambler at the Adam Smith Institute:


Notwithstanding post facto revisionism from some elements of the political and legal establishment, I beg to differ with Tim Ambler ('Referendum Risk', Letters, 12 September) when he says 'the Brexit referendum was advisory.'

I accept that it may have been conceived as such at the beginning of the campaign, but its nature changed when politicians of all stripes assured the voters orally that they would consider the result as final, and then the Government itself did so in writing, under its own imprimatur*: 'This is your decision. The Government will implement what you decide.' As part of what was effectively a contract between the Government and the people, that clarifying explanation formed part of the agreement and turned the vote into a binding plebiscite.

I leave aside consideration of whether we were ever legally part of a European Union into which we were led by falsehoods, subterfuge and legal ambiguities; but this decision was open and clear, and must stand.


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