Tuesday, June 07, 2016

What mandate would a "Leave" vote give?

If Vote.Leave want to be able to interpret a "Leave" vote as a mandate to leave the single market as well as the EU, THEY MUST TELL THE VOTERS THAT BEFORE 23RD JUNE.

There are various suggestions going round at the moment about what the House of Commons - which has, of course, a large pro-remain majority of MPs - would do if there is a "Leave" vote.

There is no question that in the event of a "Leave" vote the electorate would have given an instruction to activate Article 50 and terminate Britain's membership of the European Union.

I cannot believe that such an instruction from the electorate would be ignored.

There is, however, a legitimate argument about whether a Leave vote would have given a mandate for anything else.

Several sources suggest, including James Landale at the BBC and the front page of this morning's Times, as discussed at Political Betting here, that the House of Commons might keep Britain in the Single Market, adopting some form of EEA or "Norway minus Schengen" perhaps along the lines of the Leave Alliance's FLEXCIT plan.

Those Leave supporters who favour a "WTO Option" have been expressing outrage at this because they would see it as the pro-remain majority of MPs ignoring the views of voters - it would also almost certainly mean that Leave's suggested immigration policy could not be implemented, at least in the short term.

If there was a clear message coming from the Leave side that Britain should terminate our membership of the single market as well as the EU itself, they would have a point.

But there isn't. The vast majority of senior Leave campaign spokespeople have, as William Hague points out here, done their best to dodge the question of whether they expect Britain to leave the single market. "The EU will offer us a deal" they say.

I think the deal which will be available in the short term will be EEA membership.

What's more there are people on the Leave side (and they are the people making the most logically consistent, coherent and more reality-based arguments on the Leave side) who are specifically arguing for this as a short-term solution following the Leave vote they support, though most of them see it as the first stage of a process, not as an end-point. The Leave Alliance website this morning has an article on their home page,

Reality sinks in: we will leave the EU and remain in the Single Market.

There will be people on the Leave side who are NOT happy with the implications of this - as I have inferred, for example, one of those implications is that at least in the short term, it is most unlikely that we could restrict immigration from EU citizens.

But if the official leave campaign want to be able to claim after 23rd June that a "Leave" vote would be a mandate from the voters to leave the single market as well as the EU itself, they must tell the electorate now.

If they do not very clearly explain that message across before the referendum, they have no moral or political right to claim a retrospective mandate after 24th June for something which was not clearly spelt out beforehand.


Jim said...

What mandate? this is not an election. Its a referendum asking should the UK remain a member of or leave the European Union

Nothing has changed since i explained this
back at the end of Feb

Jim said...

That is just it though isn't it. Flexcit has broken the bubble (thanks a thousand times Roland my friend) and now remain are afraid.

Having not produced a single argument why the UK is better off in the POLITICAL EU, and having "project fear" pretty much neturalised they are afraid it may just gel with enough swing voters,

Leaving the EU is Safe, Workable & Viable, they can not beat that, so they are asking vote leave to undermine it from the from the friendly side.

my only fear is that Vote Leave may take the bait.

Chris Whiteside said...

You are absolutely right about what this referendum is, but unfortunately some people don't get it. Some of those people will cry "foul" if parliament goes for a Flexcit solution after a Leave vote and claim that the will of the people is being frustrated.

Let's just hope that if that is the scenario, not too many people fall for it.