Brexit questions must be answered before the general election
The general election should not be fought with the same ambiguous rhetoric as the referendum. It also shouldn’t be a chance for the government to stop all opposition.
Tomorrow the government will put forward a motion in parliament to hold a general election on 8 June. Unless there’s another big u-turn overnight (this time by the Labour party), the motion will pass and the UK will be asked to vote two years after the last general election.
This, from Brenda in Bristol, is quite possibly the best reaction so far to the surprise news:
“NOT ANOTHER ONE!”
— Jon Kay (@jonkay01) 18 April 2017
As we noted from our earlier post on the announcement, calling a general election so soon seems purely about Theresa May wanting total control of Brexit. She argues that other political parties as well as the House of Lords want to thwart her plan for Brexit and that the government cannot negotiate effectively because of this. In reality, the prime minister and her government have fought every demand for information on their “plan” and refuse to either conduct impact assessments or to publish the results if they have. In calling a general election, she hopes to stop those demands and stop people questioning her plans. This is May’s alternative democracy.
But it’s a gamble she could lose. It’s time now for all political parties to put their cards on the table and give answers to Brexit questions they have been able to conveniently ignore so far. According to Channel 4 News’ Gary Gibbon, the prime minister’s office has already said that there won’t be any TV debates and the Tory manifesto is also expected to be “slimmed down”.
Questions such as these below and many more must be answered before people go to the polls:
- Will they conduct impact assessments on the possible Brexit outcomes – including the possibility of “no deal” and publish them?
- Will they support revoking Article 50 as an option when Brexit terms are known or if negotiations fail?
- Will they support remaining as an EEA member and therefore in the single market?
- Will they support remaining in the customs union?
- Will they support a referendum on the Brexit terms?
- If no free movement, what will the new immigration policy be?
- What will be the status of EU nationals already living in the UK?
- Will they support further devolution?
- Will they increase funding for the NHS and schools (not just grammar ones) and how?
- Will they reduce the protections we have with the EU on workers rights and the environment?
A general election means we will get a mandate from each of the political parties running. They should include answers to these questions and more. Whatever happens, even if, as recent polls suggest, the Tories increase their majority, it shouldn’t be about stopping democracy and stopping people from giving opposing views.
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