Brexit and the sovereignty of parliament


Sir, – Dennis Kennedy, a former deputy editor of The Irish Times, writes that Brexit trashes “the principle of the sovereignty of parliament” (“British parliament must reassert its sovereignty and reverse Brexit”, Opinion & Analysis, October 11th).

The European Referendum Act was passed by 544-53 votes in the House of Commons on June 9th, 2015.

The British government made sure everyone knew the implications, distributing a booklet to 28 million households, which was helpfully titled, “Why the government believes that voting to remain in the EU is the best decision for the UK”.

It warned that leaving the EU would risk increasing prices, falling living standards, job cuts, loss of single market access, a falling pound, and so on.

It concluded, “This is your decision. The government will implement what you decide”.

A majority of voters decided that the advantages, as they saw them, (sovereignty, control of laws and borders) outweighed the well-rehearsed financial disadvantages and went for Brexit.

Parliament passed the Bill to invoke Article 50, and trigger the UK’s exit from the European Union, by 498 votes to 114 in February this year.

Both Conservative and Labour made clear in their June general election manifestos that they would proceed with Brexit.

Despite this democratic process, Dennis Kennedy hopes that MPs will halt Brexit and not “hide behind a referendum”.

Such de haut en bas pronouncements hardly advance his cause. – Yours, etc,