The people have spoken – now it's up to politicians to make sure that we have a Final Say on Brexit
More than one million of you called on government for another vote on Brexit, but we can't stop here. Next, we must force our elected representatives to act in the best interests of this country
Theresa May’s latest ruse to deny the British people a Final Say on the outcome of her shambolic Brexit talks is to deem the People’s Vote campaign a “Politician’s Vote”. That’s been a laughable response right since the start of this campaign, but has become even more so with the fantastic news that The Independent’s Final Say petition has reached one million signatories.
Often dismissed as mindless “clicktivism”, the passing of this landmark in fact shows the width and depth of feeling across the country in favour of the people – not politicians in Westminster – being able to decide on their own future.
During the 19th century struggle for parliamentary reform and moves towards democracy, ordinary working people expressed themselves through mass petitions to Parliament: a fight for democratic engagement sits within this most British political lineage. This depth of feeling was shown on the People’s Vote March for the Future in London last weekend: 700,000 people from all walks of life and all regions of the country came to express their disgust at the Brexit the government thinks will be good enough for the British people.
Beyond the enormous scale of the march, it was heartening and shocking in equal measure to see the huge turnout of young people and students, cheering to witness their engagement with the great political issues of the day, but tragic that they were moved so strongly against the fact that their futures were being driven into the ground by an irresponsible and incompetent government.
This need has become ever more pressing since the release of the pro-People’s Vote youth campaign “Our Future, Our Choice” report, which warned of the severe economic consequences Brexit will have: young people could lose more than £100,000 over their working lives due to the shambolic approach to Brexit of this government.
But we can’t stop here. The focus must now shift to lobbying our elected representatives to act in the best interests of this country. They must vote not only with the best interests of their constituents at heart, but also take into account how the mood of the country has changed. So write to your MP, go to their surgery – let them know exactly how you think.
As we come to the crunch point of the negotiations, the leadership of the Labour Party must align with its members and return to its historic position of fighting for the interests of the disadvantaged and the disempowered. Where members have led, with an overwhelming majority backing a People’s Vote, the leadership must follow to prevent workers’ rights being slashed and immigrants’ status being undermined. They must follow the clear will of members expressed at the party conference for a final say, with the option to remain. The interests of the young, who voted in overwhelming numbers for Jeremy Corbyn last year, must be represented.
We’re running out of time. We will soon find out what fudge Theresa May brings back from Brussels, and our elected representatives must decide whether it’s good enough for the British people. As the consequences of Brexit become clearer, we must lobby our MPs, and they must fulfil their duty of care to the British people. We must go beyond the huge demand expressed in The Independent’s petition and fight for all of our interest in parliament. Together, we can fight for our representatives to do what is right.
The Independent has launched its #FinalSay campaign to demand that voters are given a voice on the final Brexit deal.
Sign our petition here