Brexit and democracy


Sir, – I frequently read letters in your (and other) newspapers which refer to Northern Ireland’s having “voted to remain in the EU”. Such correspondents often proceed to claim that Northern Ireland is being taken out of the EU against its will. This argument does not bear scrutiny because Northern Ireland did not independently vote in that referendum. Its vote had no more constituent validity than any other in the UK. It would be equally disingenuous to claim that London (or any remain-voting constituency) should remain in the EU when Britain leaves, or that a county here which voted against same-sex marriage should not be forced to adopt it.

That is how democracy works – a majority in the entire UK voted to leave, and if the people of Northern Ireland refuse to accept that they have a remedy enshrined in the “agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations”.

The UK voted to leave the EU. Accept it. – Yours, etc,


Rathvilly, Co Carlow.

Sir, – Your report from Labour’s annual conference in Liverpool says that many delegates were “angered by the compromise motion on Brexit that emerged from hours of procedural wrangling on Sunday night” (“Labour leadership’s Brexit vagueness angers party’s pro-EU wing”, World News, September 24th).

The quality of individual politicians has little to do with their party affiliations.

A growing list of Conservative MPs, including significant figures like the ex-cabinet minister Justine Greening, is already supporting a fresh referendum.

By doing so, they are putting their political careers on the line for the national good.

Labour MPs who privately believe that Brexit is a disaster must likewise now find the personal courage to publicly endorse a people’s vote on leaving the EU.

The future well-being of not only the UK but also of Ireland possibly hangs in the balance. The stakes could hardly be higher or the need for personal political bravery more urgent than right now. – Yours, etc,


Arbour Hill,

Dublin 7.