Seven months after the advisory-only EU referendum, 114 brave MPs passionately spoke and voted AGAINST triggering Brexit.
Chris Bryant, Labour MP for the Rhondda, was one of them.
Along with 46 other Labour MPs, he defied the 3-line whip imposed by his then party leader, Jeremy Corbyn, and voted AGAINST the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill.
From 31 January to 1 February 2017, MPs debated whether to support the Second Reading of the Bill to give the then Prime Minister, Theresa May, the go-ahead to notify the EU of the Article 50 notice-to-leave.
With the support of 182 whipped Labour MPs, the government overwhelmingly won, with a total of 498 MPs voting FOR the Bill, and 114 MPs voting AGAINST.
(The government didn’t need Labour’s support to win the vote, but Labour’s endorsement gave a boost to Theresa May’s Brexit – a Brexit which, at that stage, had no assessments, no details, no plan, and only the endorsement of a mere 37% of the electorate).
Most Parliamentarians before the referendum were against Brexit.
But the referendum result cowed most MPs into supporting Brexit, even though the referendum was supposed to be an advisory poll only.
The referendum itself was a deeply flawed exercise, not only because just 37% of the electorate supported Leave – a percentage which wouldn’t have been sufficient for Brexit to have gone ahead in many other democracies across the world.
But there were also other flaws in the democratic credentials of the referendum result – such as that half the countries of the UK, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, along with Gibraltar, voted strongly to remain in the EU.
In addition, many people directly affected by the outcome of the referendum were refused a vote.
They included around three million citizens from the rest of the EU who had settled in the UK, and over three million Britons living in other parts of the world who were promised a vote, but then the Tory government broke that pledge.
Not to mention that every reason given to leave the EU was based on misleading information, as many more voters now realise and agree.
Today, some seven years later, even some of those 114 MPs who voted against triggering the Article 50 notice-to-quit now accept and support Brexit.
But the public does not.
Isn’t it time to put this back to the people?
- Watch 2-minute video of Chris Bryant’s anti-Brexit speech
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