This is an Open Letter written by Chris, from Essex. Chris voted Leave in 2016. He has since changed his mind and wants a People’s Vote so that he can now vote for Britain to Remain in the European Union.
Dear Members of Parliament,
As the momentum behind a final say on whatever deal the Prime Minister brings back gathers pace, some still talk of the electorate as though it was frozen in time on 23rd June 2016, that no one has changed their minds since.
I’m one such voter who has changed his mind, and from personal experience, and the efforts of groups like RemainerNow on social media, I can confidently say I am not alone.
I recently had the opportunity to sit in a committee room in Parliament in front of MPs from both sides of the House, with a diverse cross section of other people who voted to leave the EU, and have now, on reflection, changed their minds.
From NHS workers, to the self-employed, to signallers working on our rail network and to a former volunteer at Vote Leave, we come from all walks of life, and from across the political spectrum. We all voted for what at the time, we thought was for the good of the country.
Over two years on from that vote, we have seen a government fail to address any of the drivers behind the decision to leave, and we have seen them, and on many occasions the Opposition treat them like one group, with one goal and with one vision for the UK.
We’ve seen promises made during the referendum broken without shame, and we’ve seen to our horror, a country and its politics lurch worryingly to the far-right. We’ve seen our international reputation damaged, and we’ve seen that the notion of trading with the rest of the world on favourable terms to be a fallacy.
While there are many who celebrate the above course of events, there are many who don’t, and now reject the idea of leaving the EU as a result. However, this isn’t about Remain versus Leave, or which side would win in a vote on the final deal. At its heart it’s about democracy and informed consent.
Just over two years ago 52% of the electorate asked the government to find us a new home, and we all deserve to see what they come back with before we sign any contract. With such a diverse electorate from across the political spectrum, there can be no Brexit deal that satisfies the wishes of everyone who voted for it, and for every vote to leave the EU, there was a different version of what that should look like.
We understand that at every election political parties make promises that for whatever reason, sometimes can’t be kept. The referendum, however, was built on promises that were meant to be broken, and that stains our democracy. Let’s not forget; there wouldn’t even be a campaign for a People’s Vote if the promises made during the referendum were being kept.
Give the nation the opportunity to look at the final deal, and judge for itself whether or not it meets the expectations of 2016. If the majority looks at the deal on offer, and compares it to what was promised and decides that it matches up and is the best route for jobs, workers’ rights, the NHS, the environment and more, then we will still leave anyway, but we will be able to confidently say that the electorate knew what they were going to get.
Perhaps then we can begin the process of healing a divided country. If however, the majority look at the deal and reject it in favour of staying in the EU, then we should all sigh with relief that we checked before jumping.
Finally, I would implore all of you to ask yourselves these two questions when making your decision when the deal comes back to Parliament and the prospect of a People’s Vote is raised:
• “Will leaving on these terms genuinely improve the lives of my constituents and fix the problems with the country?”
• “Am I 100% sure this is still supported by a majority of the electorate?”
If there is any doubt in the answer to either of these questions, give it back to the people and allow us all to make the final decision ourselves.
A voter who has changed his mind.🔷
Have you too voted Leave in 2016 and since changed your mind?
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(This is an original piece, first published by the author in PoliticsMeansPolitics.com. | The author writes in a personal capacity.)