Letter: Brexit - Staying loyal to the principles

Julian Smith MP
Julian Smith MP

In last week’s edition you published a letter from Graham Whyte asking “Where does our MP stand?”.

Before the Article 50 vote I wrote to my MP, Julian Smith asking him, as a Remainer, how he intended to vote. He replied that he would vote to invoke Article 50 as “it would be democratically impossible to ignore the wishes of the electorate”.

Of the 33,181,983 people who voted, if just 687,721 of those voting to Leave had voted to Remain, the Remainers would have won. To allege therefore as Julian Smith did that “The British people voted by an overwhelming majority...to leave the EU” was a misinterpretation of the result.

Our MPs (and that includes Andrew Jones) were not voting on constituency matters, they were voting on a matter of national importance on which we expect MPs to have a wider knowledge of relevant facts than ordinary people.

We expect them to ignore what President Trump calls “alternative facts” such as the £350 million a week leaving the EU would release for the NHS. We expect them to ignore the biased language trumpeted in some newspapers and on television.

We expect them not to be like Mr Smith (W H Smith the bookseller and MP) who was ridiculed by W S Gilbert for “ always voting at their party’s call/who never thought of thinking for themselves at all”.

We expect them to be loyal to their principles. Julian Smith and Andrew Jones said before the vote that leaving the EU would be a mistake.

Before the vote, the majority of MPs were in favour of remaining. I can understand Conservative MPs’ change of heart when faced by a leader who can decide their parliamentary future, they must “obey their party’s call” (W S Gilbert again) above all else, including the national interest.

Stand forward Ken Clarke, a man who puts matters of national interest before party.

John Laird