The Fighting Five Hundred

This letter, signed by over 500 concerned citizens, has been sent to The Times in support of the call for a referendum on the final Brexit deal. This will be debated in the Commons on Dec 11th after a petition on the matter was signed by over 120,000 citizens.

If you wish to support this initiative;

please either:

  1. add a comment to this post or
  2. email peter_clarkson@btinternet.com  or
  3. DM @BritainStays providing: Name, email address and how you voted on June 23rd (optional)

Our signatories so far: 1000 citizens pdf 231117

Letter to the Editor

“The Times”

 

Sir,

On 11 December, Parliament debates a petition  “to hold a referendum on the final Brexit deal”.  We write to you as a group of one thousand concerned citizens of no fixed political affiliations.

We believe that the case for a referendum on the “deal” to be negotiated by the Government on our departure from the EU is strong, and should be agreed by Parliament.  The original referendum posed a simple question to an issue which is very complex.  The campaign that was then conducted was abysmal on both sides, and presented citizens with information that was misleading or just plain untruthful.  We all know the result but it is worth spelling it out.  An advisory referendum produced a small majority of those who voted in favour of leaving the EU.  The vote to leave represented 37% of the eligible voting population of the country.  Worth noting that the government’s threshold criteria for industrial action which causes disruption to services is 40%.  The referendum result did not meet the government’s own democratic threshold.  This seems to us at the very least, a dubious basis on which to take a decision which will have a significant impact on the life of every citizen, and in particular, the young.

We are not doom-mongers who believe our country cannot succeed economically outside the EU.  However, during the course of the negotiations the government has held with the EU it has become apparent that the transitional costs of leaving have been underestimated, and have not been explained to the people.  Further, apart from the short term transitional costs, we believe that in order for this country to compete economically at the highest level as a single Nation, a massive further and continuing investment will be required in infrastructure, and particularly education and skills for the population.   This need, and how it might be funded has not so far been addressed by any of the parties in Parliament.

But we do not believe the cost to the country should be measured in economic terms alone; departure from the EU to stand on our own will also damage our political standing.  It is not that we will not be able to rely on support on many issues from members of the EU, many of which are of course our partners in NATO.  We will no longer be present at the table when EU positions are discussed.  Rather than being able to influence the nuances of the European position directly, we will find ourselves faced with positions which may not align perfectly with ours.  Nor can we count on always being on the same side.  There are issues that may divide us from the EU 27.  Our position in every global negotiation will be affected, and we may find decisions being taken in spite of our views, simply because we will be easier to ignore, or we will not be able to stand against a consensus in which we are not included.

The vote to leave was predominantly an English vote.  The people of Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain.  The unity and possibly the survival of the UK as it is will be weakened if Brexit is driven through on the basis of the EU referendum.  All the people of the United Kingdom deserve to be consulted about any deal negotiated by the government.

We know that the referendum vote was divisive, and it is common knowledge that  many of our politicians now fear that any repeat of the vote, whatever the outcome, will deepen those divisions.  We would argue that a failure to address the deep sense of grievance about the way in which the referendum was conducted will be equally damaging.  If the government calculates that those who did not vote, or who voted in favour of remaining are the more reasonable people who will eventually accept leaving the EU on the basis of the present mandate, we fear they may prove to be grossly mistaken, and the damage to our country’s unity will not heal for a generation, or possibly longer.

By allowing the initial referendum Parliament in effect abdicated its responsibility as the representatives of the people in the EU issue.  That responsibility cannot now simply be taken back.  It is clear that both those who voted to leave the EU and those who voted to remain have doubts about the deal the government is trying to negotiate. The people are entitled to be asked to make a final judgement on the deal.  A vote in Parliament alone will be equally or even more damaging than a referendum in which the population will have been seen to speak for itself.  Full information on the economic cost and the potential political impact on our international standing of the government’s deal, of remaining in the EU and of leaving without a deal should be provided and independently verified, and the people as a whole should make a choice between those options.

Parliament’s initial response to the petition it will debate on 11 December was ill judged.  The wording was peremptory, patronising, and smacked of contempt for serious citizens with legitimate concerns. We believe the people as a whole are entitled to take the final decision.  Only if that is done, transparently and democratically, is there a chance that the divisions the have been opened will be able to heal around the final result, whatever that should be.

We therefore urge Members of Parliament to agree to a referendum on whatever deal (or not) the government negotiates.

466 replies
  1. Paul Sturgeon
    Paul Sturgeon says:

    I support this wholeheartedly. I also support fully staffing and funding Border Control to efficiently implement EU rules on ‘free’ movement.

    Reply
  2. Jenny Kenyon
    Jenny Kenyon says:

    Failing the government seeing sense and withdrawing from going ahead with Brexit, I am whole heartedly behind having a referendum on the final deal.

    Reply
  3. Martin Cleaver
    Martin Cleaver says:

    I voted to remain and now see the UK government trying to remove my European citizenship. And that based on a flawed referendum with a tiny majority.

    Reply
  4. Quentin Croft
    Quentin Croft says:

    In the first paragraph can you change ‘Worth noting that’ to ‘Worth noting is that…’ to make it a sentence?
    And change ‘to us at the very least,…’ to ‘to us,at the very least,…’ or ‘to us at the very least…’?
    And add my name.

    Reply
  5. Andrew J Yule
    Andrew J Yule says:

    Supported Andrew J Yule Hathersage Derbyshire.
    We need a “Ratification Vote” before March 2019, on whether to continue or stop withdrawal process. Too late after that.

    Reply
  6. Jacqueline Thomson
    Jacqueline Thomson says:

    I think a second referendum on the deal is imperative – we need an opportunity to vote on whether we destroy our country knowingly or not. Remain Voter.

    Reply
  7. chris madsen
    chris madsen says:

    Please add my name to this letter.
    I consider the actions of the present government to be illegal.
    They have chosen to take a tiny majority in an advisory referendum as an instruction to drag the UK out of the EU. Perhaps I ought to have said ‘excuse’ rather than ‘instruction’.
    If the referendum had been a constitutional vote, it would not have come anywere near the cap that would have been in place. In the event, the differential would not have sufficed to legally call for one day of industrial action.

    Reply
  8. Corless
    Corless says:

    I am wholly against Britain’s exit from Europe which has already proved to be harmful to both the economy and to Britain’s reputation abroad. There is irrefutable evidence that the result of the Referendum was skewed by false reporting and outright lies, to which should be added the many who have since expressed regret for voting Leave in what was in any case an advisory poll.

    Reply
  9. Sue Townsin
    Sue Townsin says:

    I support this initiative. I was excluded from the referendum because I have lived in Ireland for more than fifteen years, but have had my rights taken away from me.

    Reply
  10. Jeremy Lloyd-Evans
    Jeremy Lloyd-Evans says:

    I support this whole-heartedly. (Minor point : the last sentence of the penultimate paragraph has a typo (“the have” …..should say “that have”) AND the grammar tense surely is incorrect (….”will” does not follow first part of sentence) . Sorry to be pedantic. I repeat – I want to be a signature!

    Reply
  11. Rosalyn Wongdies-Payne
    Rosalyn Wongdies-Payne says:

    I support this wholeheartedly- this Brexit disaster needs to be properly and honestly debated. Even better; STOPPED #stopBrexit

    Reply
  12. Alex Ramsay
    Alex Ramsay says:

    I support this initiative with all my heart. The justifiable grievances of those who voted to leave were not caused by our membership of the EU, but rather were due to the many failings of successive governments in this country.

    Reply
  13. Simon Gale
    Simon Gale says:

    I give this letter my full support – at least the full impact of remaining or leaving should be available ( on a factual basis) once the deal has been negotiated.

    Reply
  14. Jane-Marie Harrison
    Jane-Marie Harrison says:

    I agree totally with this letter. The British public was not properly advised on the implications of leaving the EU and must be given the chance to decide whether whatever is agreed is acceptable

    Reply
  15. Katrina Griffiths
    Katrina Griffiths says:

    I want to stay European – no-one voted for what is proposed in an advisory referendum. The country was lied to. Europe now say they want/need to change – we should be a part of that change. Our young voters were robbed of their point of view. It is suicidal madness which will bankrupt the country. Nobody in their right mind wants this. Apart from other foreign countries who influenced the US election and obviously brexit

    Reply
  16. Claite Bond
    Claite Bond says:

    I support this request wholeheartedly. If the politicians are so confident in their ability to secure a great deal, what do they have to fear? Hand this back to the ‘will of the people’, Mrs May et al.

    Reply
  17. Gareth Williams
    Gareth Williams says:

    I agree wholeheartedly with this letter, but…
    “Parliament’s initial response to the petition it will debate on 11 December was ill judged” That response was from Government, not Parliament, and it certainly was “peremptory, patronising, and smacked of contempt for serious citizens with legitimate concerns.” With that slight correction, I would be more than happy to sign this letter.

    Reply
  18. Aaron Turner
    Aaron Turner says:

    Brexit is the greatest fraud ever perpetrated on the British people, and, if we leave the EU single market and customs union, will make the UK significantly and permanently poorer, to the great detriment of both its people and the public services on which they rely. I therefore support both a referendum on the final Brexit deal, and this letter to the Times. Please add my name.

    Reply
  19. Virginia Waterhouse
    Virginia Waterhouse says:

    I absolutely agree with this initiative to back up the force of the debate petition. We urgently need to influence newspapers like The Times if we are to make any serious progress in stopping this nightmare. Please add my name

    Reply
  20. Hele
    Hele says:

    I am.very concerned that a decision is being made on an advisory referendum without the impact studies being shared. Our MPs are there to serve the country’s best interests. Allow them to fulfill their function: give them the information and allow them to follow through with a debate and decision.

    Reply
  21. Louise Pratt
    Louise Pratt says:

    Please add my name to this.

    I’m still very much grieving at the outcome from 23rd June 16, which was in my view planned entirely for the benefit of one political party without strict parameters in place e.g. a 2/3 majority of votes to change the status quo. I’m so terribly disappointed too, that our sorry excuse for a government, and specifically the cabinet, fail to realise that they serve the WHOLE country, not just 52% of it (allowing them to ignore the rest of us) nor the people who buy favours with party sponsorship!
    Louise Pratt,
    South East London

    Reply
  22. Ted Smith
    Ted Smith says:

    Referenda are not a great idea, certainly with something as complicated and important as our membership of the EU and without a super majority. However, I fear that another is the only way to extricate ourselves from this terrible and destructive mess.

    Reply
  23. Fiona Crawford
    Fiona Crawford says:

    Please add my name.
    I am 70 years old and do not want to see my children and grandchildren made to suffer economic disaster as a result of a perverse ideology

    Reply
  24. Paul Bucknall
    Paul Bucknall says:

    I believe that a referendum on this issue should never have been held anyway. Even many MPs have proven, recently, that they don’t understand it, so how can Fred or Freda Citizen possibly understand it, it’s far too complex.

    Reply
  25. Chris Murphy
    Chris Murphy says:

    A minority of people eligible to vote, voted for brexit. The threshold should have been higher. We badly need another vote.

    Reply
  26. M. Blake
    M. Blake says:

    Brexit was meant to mean a glorious future. Now it’s all about damage limitation. We’ve been sold a pup. We and / or Parliament need to have a say in okaying – or not! – a final deal.

    Reply
  27. Simon Morgan
    Simon Morgan says:

    When the likes of Bloomberg, Hawking, Grayling, Cbi, are c telling us that our economy faces ruin over a close advisory referendum then it’s high time our parliamentarians woke up and showed some courage in facing down the right wing press and the committed Tory activists from two centuries ago. Where are our morals?

    Reply
  28. Klaartje Smith
    Klaartje Smith says:

    I support this! So many things about the referendum and the way the outcome has been handled are wrong and are not for the good of this country , the EU or its citizens, whatever their background. It has to be stopped before it can grow to become a very dark moment in history.

    Reply
  29. Noel Bell
    Noel Bell says:

    It is unthinkable that such a significant change to the constitution should not be put to parliament for final ratification or rejection. Doubly so in these circumstances of chaos we have been led into by a few right wing ideologues.

    Reply
  30. Kate Born
    Kate Born says:

    Please add my name. It would be amazing to wake up one day and no longer have to worry about the looming disaster that’s called brexit.

    Reply
  31. June Wayland
    June Wayland says:

    Please add my name.
    I support this wholeheartedly. I am a person and expect others to be humane toward me and everyone in the UK and EU27. We are not bargaining chips. We are suffering from acute stress and we have all lost at least sixteen months of our lives since the vote to Leave. We are under a great strain, wondering what is being done next to wreck our lives.

    Future history books will include infamous names that people will want to forget.

    Reply
  32. David Symons
    David Symons says:

    Tax avoidance, deletion of workers rights, adjustment to human rights, removal of the benefit system, loss of the NHS, law making without scrutiny, almost complete control of the media, dark money funding, bribery (DUP). This is conservative Brexit Britain. We need the EU like never before.

    Reply
  33. Joanne Meyer
    Joanne Meyer says:

    Thank you. Please add my name.

    Any referendum on the final deal must surely also explicitly include the option to remain.

    Reply
  34. Louise Walsh
    Louise Walsh says:

    I am afraid I would not trust my dog’s ball to this current Conservative Government, so if they want to make drastic changes to my childrens’ future by bending to the will of the few (insane brextremists) I claim my right to make my voice re-heard.

    Reply
  35. Helen Johnson
    Helen Johnson says:

    It’s like having a nice life and then shaking it up for no reason! Let’s create uncertainty and anxiety for no reason

    Reply
  36. Ian Bowen
    Ian Bowen says:

    We never knew the why’s and wherefore’ when we had the Brixir referendum so surely the British people should be given the chance to vote again when we know the deal that has been struck

    Reply
  37. Brian Benson
    Brian Benson says:

    I whole heartedly support this. I worry that Brexit is only the beginning and our country is heading for something far worse.

    Reply
  38. Nicholas NEWMAN
    Nicholas NEWMAN says:

    I also fully support this letter, even though I believe referendums to be intrinsically bad, another one probably represents the best practical way out of this mess, as I no longer have any faith in Parliament to fulfil its responsibilities and reverse the folly on its own – where is Parliamentary sovereignty now?
    A very important point missing from the letter – please add it in, is that an estimated 2 million UK citizens were disfranchised, having lived abroad for over 15 years, and that Irish and Commonwealth citizens who were not UK citizens, were able to vote. The Conservatives had also promised on several occasions to restore votes for life for those of us living abroad, and have still not done so. Had we had the vote the result would almost certainly have been the reverse. Also the referendum was advisory, and had it been otherwise would have needed to require at least a 2/3 majority to effect such profound constitutional change.
    Thus this was NOT a democratic referendum and should be declared NULL and VOID and WITHDRAWN.

    Reply
  39. Laura Meakin
    Laura Meakin says:

    Brexit has been a disastrous mess from start to finish and is already causing so much damage. For the sake of my children’s and my country’s future this madness has to stop. Please add my name to this letter.

    Reply
  40. Caroline Taylor
    Caroline Taylor says:

    I believe Brexit will be a disaster for this country, especially for the young. It has to be stopped.

    I am 65.

    Please add my name.

    Reply
  41. Bernadette Gosling
    Bernadette Gosling says:

    Please add my name, Brexit is I’ll thought out and as stated in the letter this was primarily an English vote, our Scottish & Northern Ireland friends might as well have stayed in bed on referendum day as the vote to remain goes unheard. If your take the 4 Nations as percentage votes & then divide by 4 you actually get a remain vote. Scotland voted Remain 62% to Leave 38% –

    Northern Ireland Remain 55.8%to Leave 44.2% –

    England Remain 45.8% to Leave 54.2%

    Wales Remain 47.5% Leave 52.5
    By my sums taking all 4 Nations as separate entities, by adding & dividing them by 4 gives a strong result of 52.7% to 47.3% to remain in the EU… if we do not consider this view the small nations might as well not bothered to vote at all and just left it to the English to decide our future……

    Reply
  42. Sharon Taylor
    Sharon Taylor says:

    Democracy demands that the people get a vote on the final deal. Given the suppression of information by the government on the impact of brexit

    Reply
  43. Eleanor
    Eleanor says:

    Please add my name. I voted remain and the referendum was badly managed – there should have been clauses about the result being valid e.g. 60/40 split for a true majority, options to see what the deal would be before voting to leave or not etc

    Reply
  44. Kim Parker
    Kim Parker says:

    Please add my name.
    Brexit is the single biggest act of folly this country has ever committed in its entire history.
    The EU-Referendum was won with foreign interference on a false prospectus, with a gerrymandered electorate and insufficient safeguards for a constitutional question of such importance backed by lying politicians.

    Reply
  45. Steve Arkwright
    Steve Arkwright says:

    The Referendum Act 2016 specifically stated that the outcome of the referendum is to be advisory to parliament, no more: it was never intended to be binding, certainly not in a close split, and should never have been taken as such by anybody.

    Hopefully, all future referenda will be be much more stringently defined in Acts of parliament, specifically the voting threshold at which point it ceases to be advisory and actually becomes binding; along with other well thought out, thoroughly defined stipulations regarding all aspects of a future referendum.

    Thank you.

    Reply
    • Greg Lewin
      Greg Lewin says:

      Thank you for pointing this out – it is a mystery to me as to why an advisory referendum has been treated throughout and without any question as if it were a binding one.

      Reply
  46. Ian Simpkins
    Ian Simpkins says:

    I fully support this letter. Leaving the EU is a highly complex issue, the terms under which we do so need to be understood before the door closes.

    Reply
  47. Janet Sheppardson
    Janet Sheppardson says:

    Please add my name.
    The Government has no mandate for the direction they are taking, which contradicts the statements of many people on the ‘leave’ side. Remain should still be an option.
    Janet Sheppardson

    Reply
  48. Barry Cooper
    Barry Cooper says:

    I am 100% in favour of Britain staying in the EU. A properly informed and stringently monitored campaign and referendum vote on the consequences of leaving is the only way out of this mess.

    Reply
  49. Karen Lynch
    Karen Lynch says:

    Please add my name. However I am concerned with the way that the media continues to control and frame the debate in order to serve their own agenda. We need unbiased factual reporting. The remain position has no powerful platforms to represent it.

    Reply
  50. Ian Miles
    Ian Miles says:

    Me too (as is now sadly the norm to say, when beleaguered by the aggressive / stupid / tribal / myopic actions of a few too many other people … )

    Reply
  51. Katharine Adams
    Katharine Adams says:

    If we do not revoke Article 50 then a ratification vote in parliament is essential, please add our names Katharine & Brian Adams to the letter.. & thank you

    Reply
  52. Greg Lewin
    Greg Lewin says:

    Please include my name.

    Not only was the vote to leave (in a deeply flawed referendum) made by only 37% of the electorate, it was made by just over a quarter (26.7%) of the whole UK population. These proportions are steadily being reduced as the older members of the population who are stated as being among a major part of the Leave vote are the ones most subject to reduction by natural process (i.e. death), while the young voting population stated as being mainly Remainers is steadily increasing. By March 2019 the second figure may be down to 25% or even below. The Leave interpretation of the result of June 2016 is clearly an anomaly.

    This is _never,_ as far as I have ever heard, pointed out by _anyone_ in politics or the media – phrases like “the will of the British people must be honoured” or “The British People have spoken” are routine from politicians and others, with no hint of irony or embarrassment, or even thought.

    I have been wondering how this can be changed, as it could be persuasive.

    Reply
  53. Linda
    Linda says:

    i will not give up on EU membership as a result of an advisory referendum that was was influenced by lies and corruption. The rich tax dodgers and Russian puppets must be defeated!

    Reply
  54. Mark White
    Mark White says:

    Please add my name to this.

    As more and more evidence of external interference comes to light, we can’t let this stain on the country’s reputation go unchallenged.

    Reply
  55. Beverley Stenhouse
    Beverley Stenhouse says:

    The prospect of the Ukraine government being able to remove us from the us practically unchallenged is a nightmare. We wholeheartedly support this letter and the contents therein and would be grateful if you could add our names …Ian & Beverley Stenhouse

    Reply
  56. Ken Jones
    Ken Jones says:

    I wish to remain a British & European Union Citizen. I do not support Brexit and never will. The Referendum result gives no opportunity to reject a hard or no deal outcome. I demand a #NoBrexitOption

    Reply
  57. Gerard Burke
    Gerard Burke says:

    I wholeheartedly support the need for a second referendum on the actual deal. That referendum must retain the option to Remain.

    Gerard Burke

    Reply
  58. John Peters
    John Peters says:

    Yep, add me. Brexit is the most ridiculous, self-defeating action this country has taken since Harold made the wrong call at Hastings.

    Reply
  59. Dorothy Da Cruz
    Dorothy Da Cruz says:

    Please add my name to this letter. The electorate need to see the exact ‘terms and conditions’ of Brexit before they can give their informed consent.

    Reply
  60. Dorothy Da Cruz
    Dorothy Da Cruz says:

    Please add my name to the letter. The electorate need to see the ‘terms and conditions’ before they can make an informed choice.

    Reply
  61. Andrew Lea
    Andrew Lea says:

    I believe that the advisory referendum was flawed in its inception and execution and did not provide a satisfactory mandate for such a radical reform. It support the letter.

    Reply

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