Vince Cable: ‘Parliament can seize control’ of the Brexit process

Vince Cable: ‘Parliament can seize control’ of the Brexit process

Monday, January 14, 2019

Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable has said that Parliament can “seize control” of the Brexit legislative process because leaving the European Union is an “unprecedented situation”.

He told talkRADIO’s Julia Hartley-Brewer:  “I think it is very clear that there is a majority in Parliament who do not accept that the country could go down the no-deal route.

“They are worried about the consequences – the Government has been spelling them out for the last six months – it will be massively disruptive and damaging.

“There are members of the Government and members of the Opposition who think this is completely unacceptable and therefore stop a no-deal.

“If we vote against the Government’s plan and vote against a no-deal, logically we are left with the only alternative, which is no Brexit.

“This can happen in one of two ways; Parliament can simply seize control of the legislative process and require that Brexit will be stopped or it can go down to the people, which is the more democratic option.

He added: “We do not have a written constitution and we are in an unprecedented situation and the various options, which the Government has offered us, are not acceptable. So Parliament is having to take the lead here.”


'Parliament can do this for them'

Pro-Brexit protesters wearing yellow vests take part in a demonstration in central London on Saturday. 

Mr Cable added that MPs passing an amendment demanding the Government return within three sitting days with a new plan if it is defeated in Tuesday’s Brexit vote, was an example of Parliament’s ability to take control.  

“We did last week when Parliament voted the Dominic Grieve amendment to change the way the Government is handling it,” he said.

“What we are saying to the Government is that no-deal is nothing something that will just happen, it is something that the Government will choose to do if they don’t activate the stopping of Article 50. If necessary, Parliament can do this for them.”

The MP for Twickenham also defended his calls for a People’s Vote, but added that he would accept the outcome of the second referendum.

He said: “If there was another vote on this, obviously we would to accept the outcome of it.”

“Why would we trust you?” Hartley-Brewer asked.

He responded: “The situation has massively changed. It has changed in terms of what Leave means. I do not recall any discussion at any point two years ago on what WTO actually means.”

“It poses the question that we currently face, which we have a Brexit deal and it is what Theresa May has negotiated over two years and we say to the public – is this actually what you voted for? I also think the alternative of remaining in the European Union, now we know what the options are more clearly, is a fair question," he added. 

“If others wish to formulate another option that can go on the ballot paper that is perfectly reasonable to me, I would no object.

“The option of remaining has to be there. We now have a clearer understanding of what leaving means.”