Brendan O’Neill

Why David Lammy should join the Brexit camp

Why David Lammy should join the Brexit camp
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For three-and-a-half years Brexiteers have been told that we didn’t know what we were voting for. I think that might be truer of hardcore Remainer MPs like David Lammy. Today Mr Lammy is bemoaning the fact that the French President has more say over the length of a Brexit extension than our own Prime Minister does. Yes, David, we know — and it’s because people like you voted for precisely this scenario!

Does Mr Lammy even understand what he’s voting for? It seems not. He’s forgotten that he and the other 326 MPs who voted though the European Union (Withdrawal) (No. 2) Act — commonly known as the Benn Act — are responsible for this outrageous state of affairs. That Act forced the PM to seek an extension if a deal was not agreed in Parliament by 19 October. And it also says the PM must accept whatever length of extension the EU feels is right.

The Act says the PM must ask the European Council for an extension to 31 January 2020. But if the EC proposes an alternative length to the extension, then within two days the PM must ‘notify the President of the European Council that the United Kingdom agrees to the proposed extension’. Got that? If the leaders of the EU decree that our extension should be longer, or shorter, than the one laid out in the Benn Act, then Boris has to nod along and say: ‘Yes boss, of course boss, thanks boss.’

I know you aren’t meant to say the S-word anymore, but this is why Boris, and others too, call it the Surrender Act. Because it surrenders Britain’s political power to the EU. It gives EU leaders power over the Brexit process. It gives Macron and others more power over the immediate future of Brexit than our own Prime Minister. And Lammy voted for it. He voted for the very thing he expresses shock about in this tweet.

Lammy says the fact that Macron has more say than Boris right now is proof that ‘Brexit is not taking back control, it’s giving it away’. Where to even begin with this? The people who gave away our control over the extension process — who surrendered it, one might say — are not Brexiteers; they’re Remainers. It isn’t Brexit that gave away our sovereign power in relation to the extension — it was our Remainer Parliament. Brexit is about taking back control, Remainerism is about surrendering it. David even ironically calls himself a ‘surrenderer’.

But we Brexiteers, for all the rotten things that are said about us, are an open-minded bunch. So let us welcome Mr Lammy to our circle. If he’s genuinely concerned about the EU’s undemocratic power over the UK, then he is welcome to join the Brexit camp. Yes, he might have described Brexit as a ‘nightmare’. And he might have mocked the ‘wisdom’ — his scare quotes — of Brexit voters. He might have madly suggested that ERG members are even worse than Nazis. But perhaps he’s finally seen the light.

So, David, we extend the hand of friendship. You’re horrified that foreign leaders we didn't vote for get to decide Britain’s political future? Congrats, you’re a Brexiteer. Perhaps I’ll see you on the next Leave Means Leave march.

Written byBrendan O’Neill

Brendan O’Neill is the editor of Spiked and a columnist for The Australian and The Big Issue.

Topics in this articlePolitics