UK lawyers petition Prime Minister Cameron, says Brexit vote not binding
Over a thousand British lawyers have signed a letter addressed to Prime Minister David Cameron, saying that the June 23 vote to exit the European Union (EU) was not “legally binding” and needs a parliamentary vote to materialize. Last month, 52 percent of British voters opted to leave the union after 43 years of membership in the 28-nation bloc. The lawyers, however, argue that MPs should be allowed a free vote on the decision before London invokes the Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and enters a two-year timeline to exit the EU.
“There is evidence that the referendum result was influenced by misrepresentations of fact and promises that could not be delivered,” wrote Philip Kolvin, one of the letter’s main coordinators. “Since the result was only narrowly in favor of Brexit, it cannot be discounted that the misrepresentations and promises were a decisive or contributory factor in the result,” he added.
The vote to leave the EU caused turmoil in the UK’s main political parties and forced Cameron announce his resignation after failing to prevent the decision. In the build-up to the vote, Cameron and other “Remain” campaigners warned that leaving the union would harm the country’s security and economy. But “Leave” proponents such as former London mayor Boris Johnson argued that it is only outside the EU that the UK could regain control over its borders and bolster its economy.
In their letter, which will be delivered to Cameron this week, the lawyers have called on the premier to set up a Royal Commission tasked with weighing the benefits, costs and risks of a Brexit. Some of the MPs also echoed the lawyers’ view, with David Lemmy, the MP for Tottenham and former Higher Education and Skills Minister, saying the British Parliament makes “sovereign” decisions. “In our democracy parliament is sovereign – we do not have government by referenda or plebiscite,” he told British daily The Independent.
“Whoever replaces David Cameron Prime Minister will have to seek the approval of Parliament before any move is made to invoke Article 50 and trigger Brexit,” Lemmy added. According to a new survey by the Opinium, at least seven percent (1.2 million), of the anti-EU voters say they would vote for “Remain” if they get another chance, almost removing the Brexit’s margin. The research released late last month, also found that three percent of the “Remain” voters were unhappy with their choice.