May’s denial of People’s Vote is desperate and patronising

by Luke Lythgoe | 23.10.2018

Theresa May has given her first response to the 700,000 people who marched for a People’s Vote in London on Saturday. Brexit will not be stopped by a “politicians’ vote”, she told MPs yesterday, described calls from “politicians telling the people that they got it wrong the first time and should try again”.

This is an insulting and patronising line to take. How many of those 700,000 marchers on Saturday were plotting politicians? There were more than 1,000 people there for every MP in Parliament.

Although it is MPs who will need to vote on whether to hand the final say on Brexit back to the public, it is very clearly the public that is calling for it. And not just at the march this weekend. Polling since the summer has shown strong support for a People’s Vote across different regions, nations and social groups in the UK.

In reality, there is still only quite a small number of politicians in the Commons actively calling for a People’s Vote. That’s why since Saturday people have been writing to their MPs to convince them to back a public vote.

Students are among the most enthusiastic supporters. The NUS was the first national organisation to back the campaign. Students led the “March for the Future” on Saturday. Many of them at the march didn’t have a vote in the 2016 referendum. They want one now.

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Other long-standing supporters of a public vote include the Royal College of Nurses, Royal College of Midwives and British Medical Association. These are the people that run our NHS. They are genuinely concerned about the health impact of Brexit, and certainly aren’t the politicians that the prime minister claims are behind the campaign.

May can stay in denial. She can continue to patronise a large chunk of the electorate, painting them as the duped shills of Machiavellian Westminster puppeteers. But the fact is that the public mood is against May’s miserable Brexit. People feel cheated by the broken promises of the referendum, and alarmed by the mess the government has made of leaving the EU.

Many MPs will have noticed the changing mood. They must speak out, reject a botched or blindfold Brexit, and demand a People’s Vote.

Edited by Quentin Peel

4 Responses to “May’s denial of People’s Vote is desperate and patronising”

  • Theresa May cannot ignore such a large march at the weekend. People travelled from all over the country from all political parties.
    To ignore their concerns is just plain stupid.
    She needs to listen to the people and not her Brexiters who have no loyalty whatsoever.
    Margaret & Ken Daly

  • Don’t worry about Theresa May’s response to the People’s Vote March on 20 October. She has done the best possible job of backing herself into a corner. Keep promoting the need for a People’s Vote on any deal or no deal, with an option to remain. Keep sending your postcards to MPs, writing to them formally or e mailing them, using your rights to inform them of your opinions, whether they agree with you or not.

    Whatever your political persuasion or your views on being in or out of the EU, if you believe in democracy, tell your representatives loud and clear that you want to see it continuing to live and develop at this most significant time in the shape of a second referendum on Brexit. Even David Davis said that democracy should retain the right to change its mind, otherwise it ceases to be democracy, or words to that effect.

    To quote a far greater authority, Keep Buggering On!

    Jeremy Pymer

  • Bloody cheek!

    The 2016 referendum was a “politician’s” vote, the politician concerned being one David Cameron. And he called it for nakedly political reasons as an attempt to discipline his own back benchers — i.e. politicians. There was never any great popular demand for it, let alone anything like Saturday’s march.


  • The Prime Minister needs to comment on the number of politicians who told the public that leaving the EU would be easy, that making new trade deals would be simple, and that leaving would provide an extra £350 million a week for the NHS. Only politicians had these ludicrously simplistic ideas, and they sold them by lies and deception to a gullible public. None of them have a fraction of the honesty of the people marching last weekend.

    Janet Davies