Brexit and the sovereignty of parliament


Sir, – As I am sure Dr John Doherty knows (October 13th), the European Referendum Act authorising the Brexit vote made no reference as to how the result should be implemented. Expert legal opinion at the time was that this omission meant it was reasonable to assume that the referendum was “advisory”, with the final decision left to parliament. The promises of political parties, including those in government, to implement the result were no more legally binding than any promises by political parties ever are. – Yours, etc,



A chara, – Dr John Doherty appears to have missed the point of Dennis Kennedy’s call for the British parliament to reassert its sovereignty. Mr Kennedy laments that parliament has surrendered its responsibility to act in the best interests of the United Kingdom, with both the government and opposition waving through policies they know will deeply harm the country.

Dr Doherty, however, believes that this is acceptable, based on the results of the EU referendum and the recent general election. It is not. Contrary to Dr Doherty’s belief, I am deeply sceptical that the British electorate came to a well-informed, fact-based decision, in spite of the endless barrage of promises that voting Leave would mean £350 million per week for the NHS, all the benefits of EU membership with none of the costs, and avoiding Turkey’s imminent accession to the EU. Let’s not even mention the fact that any warnings about the dangers of Brexit were blithely dismissed as “Project Fear”. Dr Doherty must be aware that consent is meaningless unless it is fully informed.

Furthermore, the recent general election cannot be rationally considered a democratic endorsement of a hard Brexit. In the UK’s current two-party, first-past-the-post system, voters had no reasonable prospect of forming an anti-Brexit government. The only real choice on offer was Conservative Brexit or Labour Brexit.

Since David Cameron called the ill-fated referendum, UK politics has resembled a slow-motion train wreck. Only parliament can pull the brakes and restore the good name of British democracy. For the sake of us all, it must shake off its paralysis, take back control from the populists and extremists, and do what is best for Britain. – Is mise,



Dublin 4.

Sir, – The Remainers lost. Get over it. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.