In the EU referendum, Brexit triumphed after 17 million people plumped for Leave while 16 million voted for Remain. This act of democracy was not enough to satisfy some, however, with four million people subsequently signing a petition calling for a second referendum. As a result, a number of MPs spent their first day back from recess debating the motion.
While David Davis set out the agenda for Brexit in the Chamber, the SNP’s Ian Blackford opened the debate in Westminster Hall. He said that the government’s ‘irresponsible’ behaviour was evident by the fact that all the public have been told is that ‘Brexit means Brexit’. So, what should Brexit mean? Blackford appeared to imply that it means breakfast. Getting his words jumbled, he accused Theresa May of ploughing ahead with a ‘hard breakfast’ before correcting himself. In fact, very few words emitted from Blackford’s mouth had their desired effect. After he failed to talk about the petition — instead using his speech to complain that the people of Scotland had been misled — Blackford was blocked from talking by James Gray, the chairman.
Next up was David Lammy who at least had more luck staying on point. Lammy said that the uncertainty following Brexit was not good for the country — arguing that MPs should decide whether to vote it through or the public be given a second vote. Discarding the result in June, the chief Remain-er said it was important to note that the referendum was a ‘non-binding advisory referendum’. Its only purpose — he argued — was to get advice from the public on the issue. Now that ‘advice’ is in, Lammy said there was no need to actually listen to it:
‘It was advice to hear what the people say, but it was not binding, it was not two thirds, it was not a quadruple lock, all nations agreeing.