Lord Taverne: Commons are abandoning principle of parliamentary democracy

On 13 March, during the debate on Brexit, Lord Taverne took the floor in the House of Lords and highlighted the reasons why Brexit sets a dangerous precedent for democracy.

Lord Taverne said:

It is a very dangerous step towards the doctrine that the people’s will must always prevail. My Lords, this is the doctrine that has always been favoured by Hitler, by Mussolini, by Stalin and by Erdogan at this present time. It is the denial of the essence of democracy which we have supported with great effect and to great effect in this country, and now we are abandoning it. My Lords, we are the guardians of political parliamentary democracy, we are the democrats and we are right to support the democratic cause.

The House of Commons has now in effect abandoned the principle of parliamentary democracy and has taken the view that the referendum verdict is sacrosant and cannot be challenged and that is quite clear what the opinion of the government is. Now what does that mean? It means that MPs are delegates and not representatives. It means that there’s no point in parliamentary government considering the argument and debates, considering the evidence, they have to obey the will of the people and that is now the principle.

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