People's Vote Campaign: Update February 2019

Thank you for contacting me about holding a vote on the deal reached between the UK and the EU.

A Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration on the future relationship between the UK and the EU has been reached. It delivers on the referendum result and protects jobs in this country.

Parliament has said that it would support a deal with changes to the Northern Ireland backstop and further measures addressing workers’ rights and Parliament’s role in the future partnership negotiations. The Prime Minister will now take this mandate forward and seek to obtain legally binding changes to the Withdrawal Agreement while guaranteeing no return to a hard border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.

I understand your strength of feeling on this matter but there will not be another vote and the UK is leaving the EU in March. The duty of politicians is to implement the result of the referendum, not suggest the public got it wrong. This would set a difficult precedent and undermine faith in democracy. 

The ballot paper presented voters with an unambiguous choice to remain in the EU or to leave. The consequences of either decision were communicated by campaign groups through a variety of print, audio-visual and digital media. The Government also sent a document to every household in the UK on the benefits of staying in the EU.

As in every election, it was up to the electorate to judge the merits of the different arguments and over 17.4 million voters decided to leave the EU. MPs from across the political spectrum voted 494 to 122 in favour of invoking Article 50 in 2017. Both main political parties also pledged in their manifestos at the General Election 2017 to respect the EU referendum result and these parties received over 80 per cent of the vote.

Allegations that Vote Leave did not satisfactorily declare campaign spending are a matter for the Electoral Commission. The Electoral Commission has previously declared that the referendum was delivered without any major issues and that final result was clear.

The Information Commissioner has published a report on the use of data in political campaigns and I understand that criminal proceedings have been launched against Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections Ltd.

The Government is committed to defending the UK from all forms of malign activity conducted by foreign states. I am not aware that any evidence has been received detailing successful interference in the UK’s democratic processes.

Thank you again for taking the time to contact me.

Craig Whittaker MP

February 2019