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MPs who ignore will of the people do so at their peril

Readers' letters | Published:

Next week our MPs will be invited to vote for Theresa May’s ‘Withdrawal Agreement’ (WA) which, if defeated, will mean that they will then vote on a motion to prevent the UK leaving the EU without a deal.

Given that this is apparently the only proposition upon which the majority of our elected representatives can agree it would almost certainly be passed by a considerable margin, notwithstanding that it flies in the face of the majority vote in the 2016 Referendum.

That being so, our MPs would then vote on a motion to extend the provisions of Article 50 to buy time for further negotiations – thus prolonging the interminable uncertainty into an unknown future.

Without doubt the worst of these three options is the WA, not least because it does not contain a termination clause. In other words, Britain would never be able to withdraw from its onerous provisions without the express permission of the EU itself!

It is an accepted precept of our parliamentary democracy that ‘one Parliament may not bind its successors’ but that principle only applies to domestic legislation – it does not apply to international treaties.

Therefore, even if this or a successor Parliament wished to rescind the WA it could not do so unilaterally without breaking international law.

If it did that, then it is not hard to envisage some of the likely consequences – first off their marks would be the Spaniards who would say that if you, Britain, are abrogating internationally agreed treaties then we, Spain, will abrogate the Treaty of Utrecht and take Gibraltar under Spanish sovereignty.

Many Conservative MPs, perhaps out of a sense of misplaced loyalty to their hapless leader, will vote for the WA next week but they will, thereby, risk consigning this once free nation to the status of a vassal province of the EU and at one and the same time, defy the freely expressed will of the people who put them there.

They do so at their own electoral peril!

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Christopher Gill (ex-Ludlow MP), Bridgnorth

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