The Peoples Referendum Report 2016

 

Note: This document was sent to all MP’s after the summer recess 2016.

To all Members of Parliament,

Welcome back from your Summer recess into a somewhat more intense start of the New Parliamentary session.

An Immediate focus for you starts on 5th September as regards the Debate set by the Petitions Committee in Westminster Hall on the 4 million signature Petition on the rules to trigger a Second EU referendum.

Will you be attending?

To help you back into the swing of things I have provided an information pack on some of the Key issues specifically for this debate and the broader issues this reveals.

This is by no means an exhaustive list and is not intended to be legally compliant or a legal challenge. It is however to express the understanding, views, concerns and questions from a group of over 50,000 of the electorate. I hope you will also appreciate a large number of the electorate need clarification and in some cases endorsement of the issues raised.

The aim of this document is to highlight any potential flaws that have arisen from the Referendum on the 23rd of June that may or may not help you to decide:

  1. Do you have sufficient confidence in the result “as a true reflection of the will of the people” to be acted upon?
  2. How should the referendum result be used in a government decision to Leave or Remain in the EU?
  3. Who should Vote on the subsequent Government policy decision?

Please note this Report is not written with a bias to any political party or policy.

Contents:

Summary Findings

Section 1 – The Execution of the Referendum and Result

A ) The Campaigns

  1. The Leave Campaign
  2. The Remain Campaign
  3. The role of the Media
  1. The Referendum
  1. The electorate
  2. Administration Flaws
  3. The relationship of the question posed Vs the reality.
  4. Electorate Vs individual rights

Section 2. – The Status of the referendum and Obligations thereof.

  1. The Chosen format of the referendum.

B) The Obligations of the Government

  1. The Obligations of Parliament.
  1. Where can the UK go from here?

Appendix

  1. Leave Campaign literature
  2. Progress of Turkey Accession to EU
  3. Remain Campaign Literature
  4. Media Coverage.
  5. Letter to Prime Minister

Summary Findings

This analysis of the Referendum on Leaving the EU has been written as an aide memoire for MPs as Parliament returns from recess. It points to a number of flaws in the campaign and in the Referendum itself.

The UK has a Parliamentary democracy, not a plebiscite democracy. A decision as fundamental and complex as that of whether to leave the EU has to be taken by Parliament. The flaws which are detailed below only serve to reinforce this.

The analysis which is independent of any Party – has been endorsed by [over 50,000] voters.

The analysis begins with the campaigns. It details the dishonesty of the Leave campaign and the divisions within and ineffectiveness of the Remain campaign. The failure of Jeremy Corbyn to campaign wholeheartedly for Remain meant that voters perceived the Remain campaign as government-led and this encouraged those who wished to protest against government policies and not the EU membership issue. The matter was made worse by the Prime Minister’s prohibition on countering the Lies of the Leave campaign – the Remain campaign was effectively reduced to fighting with one hand behind its back.

Moving on to the role of the media, the analysis point out the bias towards ‘Leave’, given that most of the mass circulation newspapers, including some reporting that breached Independent Press Standards Organisation rules.

The Referendum itself excluded some important blocs of potential Remain voters. In particular UK citizens who had lived abroad for more than 15 years were disenfranchised as were EU citizens in the UK. And no effort was made to encourage UK citizens who had lived abroad for less than 15 years to register and vote. We also document reports of grave administrative problems including a significant number of postal votes.

Issues arising since the Referendum are also considered. In the two months since the Referendum, many UK citizen who can, are considering obtaining a second passport from one of the EU27 countries. The Issue of a proportion of the population being able to remove EU citizenship of the greater proportion of the is to be challenged in the courts. And there is serious concern over the undermining the stability of the Good Friday Agreement and the Union of the United Kingdom as a whole.

Additionally the report aims to clarify the Status of the Referendum and the understanding of its “consultative” role, with no legitimising threshold being set.

Once you have read this analysis we hope you will agree that it is simply not acceptable for Parliament not to have a say in the fundamental question of the UK’s membership of the European Union. The decision is far too complex to be decided by a public opinion vote.

Section 1 – The Execution of the Referendum and Result.

A. Campaigns

i) The Leave Campaign.

The Vote Leave Campaign has been described as “dishonesty on an Industrial scale” and “criminally irresponsible” by Professor Michael Dougan of Liverpool University (1)

There have been many lies and purposeful misrepresentation of facts produced that have had clear influence over the referendum result.

  • Claims are perceived as factual because they use numbers but are however not always fact. At the heart of the Vote Leave’s presentation is the claim that on leaving the EU the UK government would receive £350m per week explicitly available to spend on other things like NHS and Schools. (It also claimed £150bn paid in the last decade and £511bn since joining) This £350m figure was known as “the core number” in the Vote Leave campaign (2) and despite evidence presented by the UK Statistics Authority demonstrating it was misleading (2) it was used again and again in Vote Leave literature, website and Bus. It was even used in campaign videos (e.g. “How would you spend £350m”) (see Appendix 1 )

The corresponding real values of the monies physically leaving these shores (2014) are £277m per week, £119bn in last decade and £355bn since joining, this being the amount actually paid in. However this does not take into account either public or private sector funding receipts making our net corresponding contributions: £110m per week and £54bn for last decade (total figure not calculated) (2)

  • Claims of Turkey joining the EU being imminent within the next round of accession were not only inaccurate but scaremongering in the most despicable way. By suggesting that 76 million “Turks” or “criminals” (3) would then have immediate direct and free access to “invade” the UK by 2020were clearly designed to inflame racial tensions, if not incite hatred. The Vote leave video “Paving the road from Ankara”(4) depicting a riot physical riot within the Government has been heavily criticised with allegations of doctoring (5,6)

Turkey has a long and positive relationship with post-war Europe. Turkey was one of the first countries to become a member of the Council of Europe in 1949, and was also a founding member of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) (7) in 1961. Turkey has been an Associate Member of the EU since 1963. Turkey’s application to accede to the European Economic Community, the predecessor of the European Union, was made on 14 April 1987. Turkey signed a Customs Union Agreement with the EU in 1995 and was officially recognised as a candidate for full membership on 11 December 1999, at the Helsinki summit of the European Council.(8)

Turkey must successfully complete negotiations with the European Commission on 33 of the 35 chapters. (Two chapters 34 and 35 do not require negotiation.) One has been compliant (Research and Science June 2006), The majority are ongoing and some have been blocked. (8) Afterwards, the member states must unanimously agree on granting Turkey membership to the European Union. Accession of Turkey to the EU will not happen in the foreseeable future. (see Appendix 1 and 2)

  • The claim that Migrants are a drain on our economy and come here to claim Benefits.

EEA migrants are net contributors to the UK economy. Between 2001 and 2011 they contributed 34% more in taxes than they took out in benefits .(9) Immigrants from countries outside the EEA have a net contribution of 2%. In contrast UK natives had tax payments of 11% less than the transfers they received (9)

  • The British lose out over EU immigration

More British people live in other EU countries than any other Nationality, there are about as many Britains living in other EU member states as there are EU nationals living in UK.(10)

3.6% of the UK population is from another EU country, most migration in the UK is from outside the EU. This is not an EU issue: it is the responsibility of the UK Government to manage this migration (11).

 

  • EU health Tourism costs the NHS millions.

Figures from the Department of Health show that the opposite is true! The cost to other European countries of treating UK citizens in other member states is more than five times the cost to the NHS of treating EU visitors here. So indeed it is a benefit at a cost £125million per year.(12)

  • Most of our Laws come from Brussels.

A House of Commons Library report (2015) found that 13.2% of Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments for UK domestic Law from 1993 to 2014 implemented or referred to UK obligations under EU law. (13)

  • There have been serious allegations made against the Vote Leave Campaign that they intentionally and with pre-meditation breached the rules of the referendum set out by the Electoral commission. These alleged breaches include serious financial malpractice, corruption and fraud were made in a long report (14) (March 2016) posted on the Electoral Commission web site. This report is not attributed, so I am unable to verify the source but various allegations are referenced in detail.

Specifically the document references payments between a Charitable Trust (PERT) and political funding for two vote leave supporting Campaigns (all three set up by the same person who happens to be Chief Executive of Vote Leave) and which are apparently currently under investigation from the Charity Commission.(15)(16)(17)

  • Possibly the most disturbing aspect of the Vote Leave Campaign, was the repeated use of themes of negative cultural differences, incitement of racial hatred and xenophobia. Migrants were targeted specifically as being responsible for a multitude of problems in the UK, although claims and accusations were both unspecific to EU migrants and unsubstantiated. As a direct result of this, Migrants from EU member states, non- EU states and refugees were being collectively, verbally and in some cases physically abused as a direct consequence of the Vote Campaign literature and verbal promotion. The “Breaking Point” poster is especially worthy of attention. As reported was designed to be highly reminiscent of a Nazi propaganda film clip (see Appendix 1).

‘Racial hatred 1.41 Under the Public Order Act 1986, it is an offence to publish or distribute threatening, abusive or insulting material that is intended to stir up racial hatred or which is likely to stir up racial hatred.’

ii)The Remain Campaign

The effectiveness of the Remain Campaign has been widely questioned. It has been described as lacklustre and complacent at best, Incompetent and negligent at worst.

  • Confusion on who was leading it
  • Lack of appropriate Information
  • Accessibility of Information
  • Lies from the Leave campaign not effectively Challenged.
  • Confusion of Leadership.

The biggest strategic catastrophe by the Remain Campaign was the way that David Cameron (and the government) were the perceived Campaign figure head. (18) (19) Despite the Fact the officially “Britain Stronger In Europe” was managing the remain campaign, it is the overwhelming consensus that David Cameron as Prime Minister was leading the campaign.

This perception encouraged people to register a political party protest vote, many of whom believing that as this was an advisory referendum was not binding and were confident the result would be to remain in EU(after all it was just “advisory” so if you were of the ilk to do a protest vote now would be the time)

Party Politics significantly hampered the Remain Campaign cohesion and propagated an air of Party Politics as an issue for the public, specifically evident was the lack of cooperation and support between the Conservative and labour Leaders as highlighted by Will Straw (Executive Director of Stronger In Campaign) and Lord Mendelson on the BBC Brexit :Battle for Britain program aired on 8th August, 27:15 – 28.47 mim. (20)

Due to little or no clear discrimination between David Cameron, the Government and Stronger In campaign, the general public relied on the Government Referendum web pages as a major source of information. However any additions to this source were then prohibited under the Referendum 2000 Act defined Purdah period from the 27th May to the 23rd June, hence the perception the information was not there. The resulting lack of information was a criticism acknowledged in the Treasury Select committee report of The Economic and Financial costs and benefits of the UK’s EU membership in section 2 claims made by the Campaign groups. (2) (See appendix 3)

  • Lack of Appropriate information.

Whilst the Leave campaign were driving round the country with slogans on the side of a big red bus and putting up posters inciting racial hatred (despicable but still effective at raising an emotional response that people tend to act upon) the remain campaign were talking Emergency Budgets and IMF and Bank forecasts. (This is where the disrespect of “Experts” comes from).

This is predominantly all Negative Campaigning, very few of the virtues of the EU were successfully represented in the Campaign.

For example: The EU is the biggest single trading power in the World

EU citizenship affords ALL INDIVIDUALS greater rights of work and Freedoms, not just relevant for those who live outside the UK.

The EU was Awarded the Nobel Peace prize in 2012 (21)

Coordinated anti global terrorist security

Prior to joining the UK was considered the “Sick man of Europe” now UK is (was) the fifth biggest world economy.

The General public relies on the “Tabloid Media” for much of their Information. Even if they don’t read the papers in depth, they tend to still be very aware of the Headlines. The Remain Campaign failed to produce any memorable Headlines to further their cause.

The Government supplied leaflet was poorly produced, over long and tedious to read. Information was not listed clearly and there was no focus on specific positive issues. (22)

By contrast the leave campaigns produced many leave leaflets each focussing on emotive issues such as migrants (all incoming obviously) and a windfall of £350 million.

The Britain Stronger In Europe web page must also be criticised for its Format.

The overwhelming dominance on the home page was the sign in, which implied it was necessary to sign up to the campaign to access the information (which you did not)

The huge red Donate button, stating “”I WILL DONATE TO REMAIN PART OF EUROPE” in the centre at the bottom, gave the impression that someone should be willing to pay MORE to be remain in the EU. Considering the cost of EU membership was a primary Leave campaign issue, this seemed more than A little unwise.

The Flag post quote for the “front page” being that of Martin Lewis of “money saving expert” fame (placed directly adjacent the request for donation) stated “I’m generally risk- adverse and, that pushes me just towards an In vote for safety”. This was hardly an overwhelming endorsement with any enthusiasm and failed to communicate anything positive about EU membership.

Overall, an appalling first impression to the official “Britain Stronger in Europe campaign”.

  • Accessibility of Information.

“Implications of the referendum on EU membership for the UK’s role in the world” (23)

This report was prepared by the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in April 2016 specifically to provide information to the public. As balanced and informative as this document is Unless a member of the public had the specific title and date or is in the habit of reading archived parliamentary documents this was not readily accessible to the public. Both Campaigns contributed a statement to the report.

“An inquiry into the costs and benefits of EU membership for the UK’s role in the world to inform public debate in advance of the vote

“To be useful to the elector, this report cannot be an exhaustive list of all costs and benefits of EU membership for the UK or of all potential consequences of withdrawing from the EU. Instead, we highlight the major issues—as identified collectively by the Committee representing all points of view—that we believe voters may wish to consider in reaching their own conclusions on how a so-called “Brexit” might affect the UK’s role in the world.”

WHY WAS THIS NOT SUPPLIED TO THE PUBLIC?

WHY WAS THIS NOT REPORTED IN THE MEDIA?

WHY WAS THIS NOT USED BY THE CAMPAIGNS?

WHY DID WE NOT KNOW?

  • Lack of challenge to Leave Campaign Lies

The issue of the lies (now admitted post referendum) being able to stand largely unchallenged (as voters still believed £350m figure after the vote (and only then was challenged by media), some still do! and the misconception that Turkey joining was imminent only really diminished after the failed coup attempt) is self evident. (24)

Internal Conservative Party politics and David Cameron specifically must be held accountable as the Remain campaign was largely prohibited from directly rebutting the lies of the leave campaign to minimise splits and friction within the conservative party (assuming a Remain victory) This was confirmed In the BBC Brexit: Battle for Britain programme aired on 8th August by Lord Mandelson (31:38 mins) (20). A large majority of the Leave Campaign claims were easily rebutted due to the concessions achieved in the negotiations February 2016 (41), such as further involvement with EU, including the “EU army” or “Super state” but this was not evident.

iii)The Role of the Media

  • The Media was (as always) very influential during the referendum campaign and continues to be so in the aftermath. Whilst freedom of speech and freedom of the press must be respected, the media must nevertheless be held accountable for the accuracy and honesty of the material it publishes.
  • National press coverage was highly polarised, with pro-IN papers emphasising pro-IN campaigners and arguments, and pro-OUT papers emphasising pro-OUT equivalents. In aggregate terms, this produced a ‘coverage gap’ of 60%: 40% in favour of OUT campaigners. However, when these differences are weighted by circulation, the difference extends to 80%: 20% (19) (period from 6th May -22nd June 2016 – See Appendix 4)

“Three issues dominated media debate: the economy, immigration, and the conduct of the campaign itself, in contrast devolution attracted less than 1% of news coverage. Given their clear Remain majorities and the future implications for both Scotland and Northern Ireland this is a remarkable absence” (25)

  • Some notable pre referendum media coverage (see Appendix 4)

The Sun Front page Headline Story – “Queen Backs Brexit” [9th March 2016]. Buckingham Palace complained to the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) that The Sun breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors’ Code of Practice, in an article headlined “Queen Backs Brexit” published on 9 March 2016. IPSO upheld the complaint, and has ordered The Sun to publish its decision as a remedy. Although by the front page headline the damage was already done.

The Sunday Express Front page Headline “12 Million Turks say they’ll come to UK” [22nd May 2016]. The Sunday Express reported that they had commissioned a poll then extrapolated the result to say that 12 million Turkish Citizen, mostly unemployed or students, would migrate specifically to the UK “raising the prospect of a migrant influx which would place an unprecedented strain on the UK’s struggling public services including the NHS.”

The same day the Express reported (on their web page) that a “deal was already being done to give Turks visa free access” (26)

The BBC – News Web site “UK population increased by half a million, official figures show” on the 23rd June, morning of the Referendum. Reported figures from the Office of National statistics. The report itself was about population growth as a whole, stating this was mainly down to “natural growth”, it did however collectively reference all immigration as one (not discrimination for EU and non EU countries). However the headline was accompanied by a picture of Silhouetted figures standing in line suggesting a migration queue. (27)

 

  • Post referendum, there has been possibly even more damaging media coverage, specifically with reference to inciting racial hatred and fear. The leave campaign purposefully and inaccurately lumped all migration together in its campaign (EU, non EU and refugees) and the media has actively and despicably continued this misconception.

The Daily Express and the Sun “Police arrest 900 Syrians in England and Wales for crimes including rape and child abuse” [1st August 2016]. (28)

This article, derived from one originally published the day before in the Sun with the headline “Syria Crime Wave” (29) implied that of the 1,600 resettled Syrian refugees, 900 had been arrested on these horrific crimes, causing quite understandable fear and anger. In fact although the figures quoted were accurate, the extent of the allegations was certainly not.

A published in Tabloid corrections on the 2nd of August under the heading IS THE SUN TRYING TO STIR UP RACIAL HATRED AGAIN? (30)” the vast majority of offences were for immigration violations. For those still undergoing the asylum process, these can be very minor things such as failing to report for a medical test, failing to produce documents on request or undertaking employment while a claim is being processed. So why is The Sun reporting on the story as if the main concern is rape and child abuse if these make up just three (less than 1%) of overall cases?”

B. The Referendum

i)The electorate

The eligibility criteria of the electorate were highly selective:

  • The law excluded UK citizens who have lived in other EU countries for more than 15 years from voting in this referendum. (Please also see section 4 Obligations of the Government)
  • All EU citizens living the UK including those living in the UK for 15 years or more were also excluded from voting in this referendum. (Despite the fact that they are able to vote in all local and EU elections and can even stand as UK MEPs)

I cannot give preference as to which of these two groups living away from their country of origin for greater than 15 years should have been given the right to vote, it may be valid to exclude one or other, but NOT BOTH. Under the EU Charter of Fundamental Human Rights EU citizens had a right to representation in matters referring to their own well being, so this means either in country of residence or country of origin. It must be in one or the other. Hence by excluding both groups there is a probability that some EU citizens have no democratic representation in the EU at all.

ii) Administrative Flaws

There were multiple problems with the postal voting system.

  • Many postal votes did not reach the electorate in time to be used, predominantly overseas, but some also within the UK. (31)(32)(33) It is difficult to assess exactly how many this affected, but indications that as many as a third of overseas postal votes did not arrive in time if at all. For various reason:

One council in Yorkshire said papers were not been sent out because of an unspecified clerical error

A UK student in Paris claimed three out of a group of seven had not received their postal vote papers.

A council in Suffolk blamed the failure of delivery on the French postal system.

 

A request to the Electoral Commission for the numbers of how many overseas voters registered but failed to actually vote has been made and should give more accurate indication of numbers involved of these two groups, however they are not issuing a report “until the Autumn”

 

  • Some overseas voters registered to vote but due to ambiguity of the registration confirmation letter did not then subsequently apply for a separate postal vote. A confirmation of registration of an overseas voter was sent as a letter to the overseas address registered with the words quoted in the case below:

” I live in France, I came close to losing my vote due to the wording on the ‘registered to vote’ letter. Typed in bold, it said ‘You do not need to do anything’, so I didn’t – I assumed the ballot paper would arrive in due course. Nowhere on the letter did it say I had to register for a postal vote as well. It was only when friends started to receive their papers that I queried it with Highland Council and managed to register properly. I know of at least two people locally (different council areas) who missed out due to the same wording on their letters”

  • It has been reported that unusually large numbers of postal voted were rejected (900 in one voting area of Medway – there were 182 voting areas). These were not counted as recorded spoiled ballots as the discrepancy appears to be due to a problem authenticating the signatures on the outer envelope. As far as I am aware the ballot envelopes were discarded. If this was repeated across all 182 voting areas, it suggests in upwards of 100,000 postal votes may have been discarded.
  • Problems with Proxy votes have also been reported, with the nominated proxy either not receiving the papers or not themselves being registered when going to vote.
  • The security of the voting system as a whole has been questioned with the possibility of people being able to vote multiple times. Those with living in two or more locations were able to register and theoretically vote in more than one place. This was exposed by Charles Moore In the August edition of the Spectator (34) and is a situation likely to apply to a good many University students living away from home.

Security of voting seems especially inconsistent. There are no formal identity checks at polling stations when voting in person; a polling card is not even required. Yet thousands of postal votes are discarded because the signatures cannot be verified on the return ballots, when they are also sent to them by post to a registered address.

 

iii)The ballot Question posed Vs the reality.

This referendum was a binary choice to remain in the EU (maintain the status quo) or to leave the EU. However the possible outcome is far from binary.

Using the figure of 17,410,742 votes for a leave over 16,141,241 to remain, a majority of 1,269,501 as a working majority and taking into account the non binary nature of the outcome any possible Brexit option proposed, would split the Leave vote and firmly put it in clear minority, this appears to be inoperable, both practically and democratically.

iv)Electorate Vs individual rights

  • Being stripped of EU citizenship

There are different implications of being stripped of EU citizenship for different groups of UK citizens.

Part of our population acquired citizenship and the rights and freedoms it bestows to us when joining the EU, the citizenship and right will now be revoked.

  • However it must be seen as significantly more of an issue for those citizens who were born into EU citizenship as a birthright. – For those born after 1992 makes it a fundamentally more important consequence as they have grown up assuming these rights and freedoms as a way of life.
  • Those where being stripped of EU nationality causes differences within a family. (particularly dependent children and spouses or the aged) Where the difference may have effect on keeping the family as a unit or denying ability to earn an income.

 

  • There is the question of the legitimacy of 37% of the electorate having an ability to remove the EU citizenship of the majority the rest of the population (because it is not just a majority of the electorate we are talking about). On a referendum result of 17.4 million votes, 58.2 million (35) people are going to have EU citizenship removed (that is 29.8% of the population making the decision). These include approximately 12 million citizens under the voting age, who could not have voted. This then poses the question if it is democratic that a 29.8% minority can affect the rights of the 70.2% majority.

The legitimacy of the referendum result to be able to remove these citizenship rights without a Parliamentary vote is going to be challenged in the courts by a crowd funded team of UK citizens residing in France, Wales, Northern Ireland, London and Gibraltar with Bindmans LLP.(36)

 

 

  • Neither Campaign explicitly stated that the vote to leave would result in the removal of EU citizenship personally from individuals verbally or in the Literature. (still not apparent to many people)

 

  • An issue of legality of repatriation (both ways) is complex and an issue for exit negotiations if / when they occur. However if enforced all those concerned are entitled to fair compensation in regards to property and businesses. (Presumably by the UK government) under the Lisbon Treaty, III Charter of fundamental human rights, title II, Article 17 – right of property. This would have to be settled as part of exit negotiation (hence EU treaty still applies) under provision of people.

Section 2. – The Status of the Referendum and Obligations.

A) The Chosen Format of the Referendum

  • There has been much confusion within the general public as to what exactly an advisory or non binding referendum actually means and the obligations the government then has from it.

This has been clarified by the House of Commons Briefing Paper Number 07212 (37) on the 2015 referendum Act from which I quote page 25, (5) Type of referendum

“”This Bill requires a referendum to be held on the question of the UK’s continued membership of the European Union (EU) before the end of 2017. It does not contain any requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented. Instead, this is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions.”

“The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented”

This specifically suggests two things, firstly that pre-legislative means that it is a referendum to be followed by legislation to be passed, and secondly that the advisory result should be considered as an “influence” for the government decision and not wholly the Government decision.

  • In addition there is the issue of why a threshold was never set – This was not an omission but a purposeful decision. Page 26, (6) A Threshold for the referendum? (37)

“The Bill does not propose a threshold for the referendum. The only referendums held in the UK where a threshold has operated were the polls in Scotland and Wales in 1978 on the question of devolution. Discussion of the need for some form of threshold usually arises in the context of ensuring the legitimacy and acceptance of the outcome of a referendum.”

So the decision was made that this referendum result did not have to ensure legitimacy or the acceptance of the outcome.

  • Combining these two points from the briefing notes on the referendum, it is clear that due to the referendum being pre-legislative that the Royal Prerogative should not be used as legislation is indeed required. This means both you, our MPs and the House of Lords will need to vote to invoke Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty to commence the exit process of the EU. In addition it is clear that the referendum result is not a clear mandate to act upon due to the consultative nature and is to be used as an “influence” for the decision for which a large number of other factors should be considered and weighted accordingly. What these other factors are and how they should be weighted are very serious matters that should be researched and thoroughly debated. (please see Appendix 5 letter to the Prime Minister 14th August).

B. The Obligations of the Government

  • As made clear from the points raised in this report so far, it is now up to the Government to openly justify a decision on more factors than the referendum result to either remain in the EU or exit the EU and if so propose a plan to do so. Both options should be justified in its entirety to yourselves and in at least in part to the public as a whole. All information used to make the decision should be fully available (unless a matter of National security) to yourselves and as much as possible the public and should include both domestic and International Politics, Financial, Environmental and Social issues.

Particular Social issues which should be taken into consideration are:

We have a long history of immigration in the UK and as such many UK citizens who can, are considering obtaining a second passport or citizenship from one of the other 27 EU countries (Ireland in particular). Even some of the children and grandchildren from Holocaust victims or those children who fled from Hitler on the Kindertransport (Approximately 10,000 children, the majority of whom were Jewish, were sent from Germany, Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland) applying for other EU citizenship. This will have a large impact on our society; MPs have a duty to act according to the best interests of the UK. How can this be in the best interest of our Nation?

The future of the unity of the United Kingdom is also now in serious question. Both Scotland and Northern Ireland wish to remain as part of the EU. To leave could lead to both fragmentation of our Nation and undermine the Good Friday Agreement, the most important Peace deal in UK history since the end of the Second World War.

  • As a footnote to Government Obligations there has been a profound effect on this Referendum of the Government to fail to fulfil the obligation given in briefing notes of Queens Speech in 2015 (38) in which it was published the Vote for Life Bill to include all of the British Citizens overseas to be able to vote in all our elections and referendums irrespective of how long they have been away. This did not happen, and it was not rolled over into this year’s schedule either. It is now planned for later within this Government term(39) which is entirely inappropriate bearing in mind it is likely that a referendum of this type is unlikely to happen again. (unless the petition for a second referendum is successful in which case there should be this provision set in place before another referendum is undertaken). It has been reported that the Vote for Life Bill will not proceed due to it being too difficult to implement (40). If this is the case it certainly does not put the UK in a good position to be able to negotiate any kind of workable Brexit plan.

C. The Obligation of Parliament

I hope having read the information enclosed in this report you have significant questions of your own which you will need clarifying before supporting any action to proceed.

There are many answers needed from questions arising from how both the campaigns were conducted, the fundamental failures and discrepancies of the referendum itself and its execution

This referendum was explicitly not written to be a mandate for action whichever way the result went. The decision to remain or leave the EU is certainly not one for the general public alone, that would be (especially in light of the issues aired in this report) highly inappropriate.

It is up to you, our elected MPs and members of the House of Lords to obtain a full account of a reasoned decision from those directing the Government as to how the criteria should be considered and thus weighted in that decision. It is certainly not democratic to give full weighting to the will of 37% of the electorate when you yourselves have additional judgment, knowledge and more accurate understanding to add that was not available to the public at the time the vote took place. As an MP we trust in you not to hold Party Politics as your primary concern but to act in the interests of the Nation as a whole; with a special duty to all your constituents, both those able to vote and those who are not yet able to.

You have an obligation to ensure the government acknowledges all relevant information and bestows appropriate consideration and importance to it for the good of the future of the UK as a whole on Economic, Political and Social grounds.

D. Where can the UK go from here?

Clearly at present the UK are in a stalemate position. A referendum result to leave with no clear exit plan proposed or with a guarantee it will be acceptable to the public or the other 27 EU member countries. Or the status Quo of remain in the EU with our current costs, freedoms rights and benefits but with many other aspects that the UK public are also unhappy to accept. Both options have immense implications for the economic, social and political stability of the UK. A third option is required. A different EU, an EU that will undergo a transformation to reflect the current European and World Climate. The UK referendum has a great political relevance to all the other 27 EU member countries. All have similar issues and concerns about the EU to a greater or lesser extent (42). Both Germany and France have theri General elections in the near future. Remaining in the EU could be a feasible option (to rejoin after leaving would not allow us to keep the concessions of remaining out of the Eurozone, keep out currency or our 25% rebate). Not a compromise, but an opportunity for the UK to take the lead in an extensive program within the EU, to give more defined responsibilities to the Parliaments of the member countries whilst keeping the strength of the EU on the Global Scale.

Please review the questions on the first page.

References:

  1. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/brexit-eu-referendum-michael-dougan-leave-campaign-latest-a7115316.html
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201617/cmselect/cmtreasy/122/12204.htm
  3. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-vote-leave-faces-criticism-over-turkey-criminals-claim-a7041876.html
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A8su2vCq950
  5. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-vote-leave-campaign-turkey-video-doctored-screams-a7092191.html
  6. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/blog/live/2016/may/20/eu-referendum-economy-increasingly-important-in-decision-poll-suggests-politics-live
  7. http://www.oecd.org/general/conventionontheorganisationforeconomicco-operationanddevelopment.htm
  8. http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/countries/detailed-country-information/turkey/index_en.htm
  9. http://www.ucl.ac.uk/news/news-articles/1113/051113-migration-report
  10. http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/britains-70-million-debate/3-net-migration-and-immigration-overview-0
  11. http://www.migrationobservatory.ox.ac.uk/briefings/immigration-category-workers-students-family-members-asylum-applicants
  12. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/apr/07/treating-uk-tourists-in-europe-costs-five-times-more-than-equivalent-cost-to-nhs
  13. http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/SN07092
  14. http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0007/200887/Briefing-Vote-Leave-22-Mar-16.pdf
  15. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vote_Leave
  16. https://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/dec/12/charity-donations-funding-eu-brexit-politics-economics-research-trust
  17. http://www.thirdsector.co.uk/charity-commission-investigates-claims-politics-economics-research-trust-broke-political-campaigning-rules/governance/article/1376805
  18. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-34505076
  19. http://blog.lboro.ac.uk/crcc/eu-referendum/uk-news-coverage-2016-eu-referendum-report-5-6-may-22-june-2016/
  20. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b07nsx8g/brexit-the-battle-for-britain
  21. http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/peace/laureates/2012/press.html
  22. https://www.eureferendum.gov.uk/why-the-government-believes-we-should-remain/eu-referendum-leaflet/.
  23. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmfaff/545/54503.htm
  24. http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/brexitjustice/
  25. http://www.referendumanalysis.eu/eu-referendum-analysis-2016/section-3-news/the-narrow-agenda-how-the-news-media-covered-the-referendum/
  26. http://www.express.co.uk/comment/expresscomment/672624/turkey-joining-eu-disaster-britain-brexit
  27. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-36605899
  28. http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/695066/Police-arrest-900-Syrians-in-England-and-Wales-for-rape-death-threats-and-child-abuse
  29. https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/1528756/hundreds-of-syrians-in-uk-arrested-over-string-of-offences-including-rape-and-child-abuse/
  30. https://tabloidcorrections.wordpress.com/2016/08/02/is-the-sun-trying-to-stir-up-racial-hatred-again/
  31. http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2016/06/25/thousands-of-expats-had-problems-sending-and-receiving-postal-vote-in-eu-referendum/
  32. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-postal-votes-missing-late-not-received-eu-referendum-electoral-commission-post-a7125711.html
  33. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/brexit-disenfranchised-expats-denied-eu-referendum-missing-postal-votes-demand-re-run-hundreds-a7103066.html
  34. http://blogs.spectator.co.uk/2016/08/able-vote-twice-eu-referendum/
  35. http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20160105160709/http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-405714
  36. https://www.crowdjustice.co.uk/case/parliament-should-decide/
  37. http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7212
  38. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/queens-speech-2015-background-briefing-notes
  39. https://votes4xpatbritsblog.files.wordpress.com/2016/07/to2016473-brian-cave-overseas-voting-rights.pdf
  40. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3738360/Expats-lose-voting-rights-s-complex-Government-shelves-plans-one-million-Britons-say-civil-servants-insist-difficult-implement.html
  41. https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/pm-commons-statement-on-eu-reform-and-referendum-22-february-2016
  42. http://www.pewglobal.org/2016/06/07/euroskepticism-beyond-brexit/

Appendix 1 Leave Campaign Literature

http://www.voteleavetakecontrol.org/

(note: None of the fact buttons are active to click for explanation or detail on the site)

Leaflets and Flyers:

Ukip – Hemel Hempstead

Posters:

Ukip “breaking Point” poster alongside Nazi propaganda clip

Appendix 2. Turkey Ascension to EU – Progress

Acquis chapter

EC Assessment At Start

Current Situation[74]

Screening Started

Screening Completed

Chapter Frozen

Chapter Unfrozen

Chapter Opened

Chapter Closed

1. Free Movement of Goods

Further efforts needed

Good level of preparation

16 January 2006

24 February 2006

11 December 2006[C 1]

2. Freedom of Movement For Workers

Very hard to adopt

Early stage

19 July 2006

11 September 2006

8 December 2009[C 2]

3. Right of Establishment For Companies & Freedom To Provide Services

Very hard to adopt

Early stage

21 November 2005

20 December 2005

11 December 2006[C 1]

4. Free Movement of Capital

Further efforts needed

Moderately prepared

25 November 2005

22 December 2005

19 December 2008

5. Public Procurement

Totally incompatible with acquis

Moderately prepared

7 November 2005

28 November 2005

6. Company Law

Considerable efforts needed

Well advanced

21 June 2006

20 July 2006

17 June 2008

7. Intellectual Property Law

Further efforts needed

Good level of preparation

6 February 2006

3 March 2006

17 June 2008

8. Competition Policy

Very hard to adopt

Moderately prepared

8 November 2005

2 December 2005

9. Financial Services

Considerable efforts needed

Good level of preparation

29 March 2006

3 May 2006

11 December 2006[C 1]

10. Information Society & Media

Further efforts needed

Moderately prepared

12 June 2006

14 July 2006

19 December 2008

11. Agriculture & Rural Development

Very hard to adopt

Some level of preparation

5 December 2005

26 January 2006

11 December 2006[C 1][C 3][30]

12. Food Safety, Veterinary & Phytosanitary Policy

Very hard to adopt

Some level of preparation

9 March 2006

28 April 2006

30 June 2010

13. Fisheries

Very hard to adopt

Early stage

24 February 2006

31 March 2006

11 December 2006[C 1]

14. Transport Policy

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

26 June 2006

28 September 2006

11 December 2006[C 1]

15. Energy

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

15 May 2006

16 June 2006

8 December 2009[C 2]

16. Taxation

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

6 June 2006

12 July 2006

30 June 2009

17. Economic & Monetary Policy

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

16 February 2006

23 March 2006

25 June 2007[C 3][30]

14 December 2015

14 December 2015[75]

18. Statistics

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

19 June 2006

18 July 2006

25 June 2007

19. Social Policy & Employment[76]

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

8 February 2006

22 March 2006

20. Enterprise & Industrial Policy

No major difficulties expected

Good level of preparation

27 March 2006

5 May 2006

29 March 2007

21. Trans-European Networks

Considerable efforts needed

Well advanced

30 June 2006

29 September 2006

19 December 2007

22. Regional Policy & Coordination of Structural Instruments

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

11 September 2006

10 October 2006

25 June 2007[C 3]

12 February 2013

5 November 2013[77][78][79]

23. Judiciary & Fundamental Rights

Considerable efforts needed

Some level of preparation

7 September 2006

13 October 2006

8 December 2009[C 2]

24. Justice, Freedom & Security

Considerable efforts needed

Moderately prepared

23 January 2006

15 February 2006

8 December 2009[C 2]

25. Science & Research

No major difficulties expected

Well advanced

20 October 2005

14 November 2005

12 June 2006

12 June 2006

26. Education & Culture

Further efforts needed

Moderately prepared

26 October 2005

16 November 2005

8 December 2009[C 2]

27. Environment and Climate Change

Totally incompatible with acquis

Moderately prepared

3 April 2006

2 June 2006

21 December 2009[66]

28. Consumer & Health Protection

Further efforts needed

Good level of preparation

8 June 2006

11 July 2006

19 December 2007

29. Customs Union

No major difficulties expected

Good level of preparation

31 January 2006

14 March 2006

11 December 2006[C 1]

30. External Relations

No major difficulties expected

Well advanced

10 July 2006

13 September 2006

11 December 2006[C 1]

31. Foreign, Security & Defence Policy

Further efforts needed

Moderately prepared

14 September 2006

6 October 2006

8 December 2009[C 2]

32. Financial Control

Further efforts needed

Good level of preparation

18 May 2006

30 June 2006

26 July 2007

33. Financial & Budgetary Provisions

No major difficulties expected

Early stage

6 September 2006

4 October 2006

25 June 2007[C 3][30]

18 March 2016

30 June 2016[80]

34. Institutions

Nothing to adopt

Nothing to adopt

35. Other Issues

Nothing to adopt

Nothing to adopt

Progress

33 out of 33[81]

33 out of 33[81]

17 out of 33

3 out of 17

16 out of 35

1 out of 35[82]

[C1] – The EU Council froze the opening of eight chapters over Turkey’s rejection to open its ports and airports to traffic from Cyprus in 2006

[C2 ]- Some of the chapters do not proceed to the next stage in the process, because they are blocked by Cyprus.

[C3 ]- France blocked some chapters from proceeding to the next stage of the process, but subsequently lifted their veto.

[31] http://www.aa.com.tr/en/news/51799–s

[67] http://euobserver.com/15/28397

[75] http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/key_documents/2015/20151110_report_turkey.pdf

[76] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34930708

[78] http://www.turkishweekly.net/2013/11/04/news/new-eu-chapter-promises-regional-development-in-turkey/

[79] http://www.kuna.net.kw/ArticleDetails.aspx?id=2342355&language=en

[80] http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/eu-turkey-in-talks-for-membership.aspx?pageID=238&nID=57361&NewsCatID=351

[81] http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/press/press-releases/2016/06/30-turkey-accession-conference/

[83] http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/pdf/enlargement _process/accession_process/how_does_a_country_join_the_eu/negotiations_croatia_turkey/overview_negotiations_tr_en.pdf

Appendix 3. Remain Campaign Literature

Front page of Referendum Web pages

Stronger In front page of web site

Government Remain leaflet.

Britain Stronger In Europe Leaflet.

Appendix 4. Media Coverage

http://blog.lboro.ac.uk/crcc/eu-referendum/uk-news-coverage-2016-eu-referendum-report-5-6-may-22-june-2016/

Volume of Remain (blue) to Leave (red) items weighted by circulation 6th May- 22nd June 2016

The Sun 9th May The Sunday Express 22nd May

BBC News Web page 23rd June 2016

Appendix 5. Letter to the Prime Minister

10 Downing Street,

London
SW1A 2AA 14
th August 2016

Dear Prime minister.  

In light of recent events, (specifically the latest court submission by Mr Raymond McCord to the Belfast High Court on Thursday 11th August) as regards to invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Agreement under Royal prerogative powers without a Parliamentary vote. The suggestion that new legislation may be required for maintaining the Good Friday Agreement, it has to be a consideration that a Parliamentary vote will now be required. (1)

Clearly from the letters received back from a large number of MPs suggesting that “The will of the People must be respected” and “Brexit means Brexit”, the whip for the party has been employed, but I urge you to allow a free vote in the commons for the reasons below:

I appreciate the moral stance with respecting the will of the people, however this was only 37% of the electorate of a non binding referendum.

There has been much confusion within the general public as to what exactly a non binding referendum actually means and the obligations the government then has from it.

This has been clarified by the House of Commons Briefing Paper (Number 07212) on the 2015 referendum Act from which I quote

This Bill requires a referendum to be held on the question of the UK’s continued membership of the European Union (EU) before the end of 2017. It does not contain any requirement for the UK Government to implement the results of the referendum, nor set a time limit by which a vote to leave the EU should be implemented. Instead, this is a type of referendum known as pre-legislative or consultative, which enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the Government in its policy decisions”

The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented” (2)

This specifically suggests two things to me, firstly that pre-legislative means that it is a referendum to be followed up by legislation to be passed, and secondly that the advisory result should be considered as an “influence” for the government decision and not wholly the Government decision. This brings me to question what other criteria a government should then consider as other “influences” of the decision to Exit the European Union.

May I suggest that some consideration should be given to:

  1. The remain vote of 32% of the Electorate
  2. The Lack of a threshold imposed on the referendum which would usually be required “to ensure legitimacy and acceptance of the outcome” (2)
  3. The poor conduct and misinformation supplied by the leave campaign which is currently under review for possible prosecution (3)
  4. The stability of the UK as a whole, specifically the possibility or at least the wish of both Scottish and Northern Ireland independence.
  5. The loss of EU citizenship and the rights and freedoms it bestows on UK citizens.
  6. The provision for repatriation of EU citizens The loss of right to abide in the UK of EU citizens from other EU member states and the possible effect of splitting up families, and that of UK citizens living in other EU member states (and their investments, including property and business interests).
  7. The Stability of the Good Friday Peace Agreement
  8. The reported support for the UK to remain in the EU expressed by most World Leaders (4)
  9. The reported support for the UK to remain in the EU from the other EU member states. (4)
  10. The reported support of 14 UK Trade Unions (4)
  11. The reported support of 65 Prominent Business figures both UK and International (4)
  12. The reported pre referendum figure of 138 Conservative, 218 Labour, 54 Scottish National, 8 Liberal Democrat, 4 Sinn Fein, 3 Social Democrat, 3, Plaid Cymru, 1 Green and 3 Independent/Other MPs, (5)
  13. The Fall in the value of the pound ($1.293 €1.1582 14/08/16) requiring Bank of England intervention to the tune of £170bn and cut Interest rates to support the economy (6)
  14. Suspended Foreign Investment in UK Industry for example Nissan (7)
  15. The reduction of the UK AAA credit rating to AA (8)
  16. The costly and monumental undertaking of untangling and rewriting UK domestic legislation from that of the EU.(9)
  17. The cost Underwriting of EU funding for H2020 and British CAP subsidies at least to end of 2020, leaving considerable uncertainty after that date (10)
  18. Financial Institutes planning relocation to other EU member states in the event of losing the passporting capability.
  19. The cost, time and expertise required to negotiate new trade deals throughout the world under whatever proposed EU exit plan may exist.
  20. The split in the leave vote in respect to any of the possible exit plans which may indeed be proposed putting the final outcome of the referendum in a firm minority of the vote. Making the exit plan “Impracticable”.

I hope this letter provides you with sufficient justification for due consideration that to Invoke Article 50 to commence the process of exiting the EU has at least a requirement for a Parliamentary vote. In addition, due to the chosen consultative format of this referendum and that a referendum result (especially one with such a small majority) under the conditions specifically not including the legitimising threshold, I ask it should be given an appropriate weighting of “influence” over the decision (as suggested in the 2015 Act briefing notes) on whether proceeding with any exit from the EU should be deemed as for the good of the Nation.

Thank you for taking time to read this letter, I intend supply a portfolio of information to all MPs prior to the start of the new Parliamentary session and will copy this letter in for reference.

Yours Sincerely,

References:

  1. http://www.irishtimes.com/news/crime-and-law/courts/high-court/belfast-rights-campaigner-begins-legal-challenge-to-brexit-1.2753149#.V6y5my8Sh2c.facebook
  2. http://researchbriefings.parliament.uk/ResearchBriefing/Summary/CBP-7212#fullreport
  3. http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/brexitjustice
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endorsements_in_the_United_Kingdom_European_Union_membership_referendum,_2016
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-35616946
  6. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/companies/
  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-37024707
  8. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/uk-credit-rating-downgraded-from-aaa-to-aa-by-standard-poor-following-brexit-vote-a7106341.html
  9. http://www.parliamentlive.tv/Event/Index/cb083c53-3998-4f3a-8eca-e114e3dbdf0b
  10. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2016/aug/13/philip-hammond-treasury-to-guarantee-post-brexit-funding-for-eu-backed-projects

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