Time left to stop Brexit and secure a People’s Vote

Only way to heal divisions is Remain and Reform, say campaigners for new referendum

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Peter Gilbey

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Economic and social reform in this country is the only way to heal present divisions in society, and it will need the help of the EU to achieve them, say pro-EU campaigners in an open letter to Welsh MPs supporting a new referendum.

The letter, signed by Wales for Europe and representatives of local campaign groups across Wales, asks MPs to back a new vote on Europe whatever options they choose to support in a new ‘indicative vote’ on Monday.

On Wednesday MPs voted on six possible Brexit options plus two other options – a new referendum and revoking Article 50. The options for a new referendum got the highest number of votes of them all. On Monday MPs will be asked to choose from a more limited list of options.

The letter to MPs says that giving people a final say through a new referendum will be in the interests of both the economy and democracy. 

It says: “We have seen months of confusion and procedural wrangling. The only way to be sure that the end result is something that has the confidence of the public is to subject it to a truly meaningful vote of the whole people.

“That’s actually to show respect, not disrespect, to the 2016 referendum. Far from being a negation of democracy, it would be a reassertion of it,” it adds.

On the economy, it adds: “Wales and your own constituency stands to suffer more from Brexit than any other part of the UK.  No Brexit proposal offers an economic advantage over our current membership of the largest single market in the world.

“The fundamental economic and social reforms this country needs in order to tackle individual and regional inequalities will also be so much more difficult to achieve outside the EU. It is only on the basis of such reforms that we can really heal the divisions in our society.”

And on democracy, the letter adds: “All proposals for maintaining a close relationship Europe, while being outside the EU itself, involve a massive reduction in our democratic rights as a country for as far ahead as we can see. We would be choosing to become rule-takers.

The letter acknowledges the concerns that some have about a new referendum:

“To those who fear a divisive process, we say that once we become afraid of the democratic process, democracy itself is in danger.”

It adds: “In such a referendum we commit ourselves to honest and principled campaigning and to respecting an updated decision on the course this country should take.”

ENDS

Contacts

Peter Frederick Gilbey, Director, Wales for Europe

peter@walesforeurope.org

Geraint Talfan Davies, Chair, Wales for Europe 

hello@walesforeurope.org

Full text open letter to Welsh MPs

The Commons has voted decisively against the Withdrawal Agreement for a third time. On Monday you will be asked to vote on alternative courses. You will also be asked to vote on the option of referring the matter back to the people of this country, a course that attracted the largest number of positive votes in the ‘indicative votes’ taken last week. 

Whichever course you choose to support during Monday’s vote, we urge you also to support the proposal for a ‘confirmatory vote’ by the people of this country, with the option to remain a member of the EU. 

It is clear to us – from work on the doorstep in constituencies across Wales, as well as the findings of numerous polls – that opinion in the country has changed. People have been able to assess a quantity of information about the consequences of different versions of Brexit that simply was not available to them in 2016. 

We urge you to give the people a final say, in the interests both of the economy and of our democracy. 

Wales and your own constituency stands to suffer more from Brexit than any other part of the UK.  No Brexit proposal offers an economic advantage over our current membership of the largest single market in the world. The fundamental economic and social reforms this country needs will also be more difficult to achieve outside the EU. It is only on the basis of such reforms that we can really heal the divisions in our society. 

As for democracy, all proposals for maintaining a close relationship Europe, while being outside the EU itself, involve a massive reduction in our democratic rights as a country for as far ahead as we can see. We would be choosing to become rule-takers. The idea that ’No deal’ – a course already rejected by Parliament – would give us greater freedom of action is illusory.

We have seen months of confusion and procedural wrangling. The only way to be sure that the end result is something that has the confidence of the public is to subject it to a truly meaningful vote of the whole people. That’s actually to show respect, not disrespect, to the 2016 referendum. Far from being a negation of democracy, it would be a reassertion of it. 

And to those who fear a divisive process, we say that once we become afraid of the democratic process, democracy itself is in danger.

In any new referendum, we commit ourselves to honest and principled campaigning and to respecting an updated decision on the course this country should take. 

Signed:

Geraint Talfan Davies, Chair, Wales For Europe

Peter Gilbey, Director, Wales for Europe

Helen Wales, Cardiff For Europe

Sally Stephenson, Vale of Glamorgan For Europe

Stephen Cocks, Gwent For Europe

Shaun Thomas, Valleys For Europe

Rob Evans, Bridgend For Europe

Paul Willner, Swansea For Europe

Katie Powis, Neath Port Talbot For Europe

Chris Passmore, Carmarthenshire For Europe

Alistair Cameron, Pembrokeshire For Europe

Leena Farhat, Ceredigion For Europe

Cllr Jackie Charlton, Brecon & Radnorshire For Europe

Mary Wimbury, North Wales For Europe

Gareth Wyn Roberts, Anglesey For Europe

Martin Hughes, Gwynedd For Europe

Neal Cole, Wrexham For Europe

Tricia Skitt, Montgomeryshire For Europe

Aled Canter, Denbighshire For Europe

Carole-Ann Davies, WFE Executive Member

Helen Birtwhistle, WFE Executive Member

Brendan Sadka, WFE Executive Member

Leyla Pope, WFE Executive Member

Anthony Slaughter, Leader, Wales Green Party

Dafydd Trystan, WFE Executive Member

Prof. Claire Gorrara, WFE Executive Member

ENDS