01:44PM, Monday 05 June 2017
I agree with Jane Perry that we should all get behind Theresa May in her efforts to negotiate the best possible arrangements for our withdrawal from the EU (’Time for all sides to rally behind Theresa’, Viewpoint, May 18).
However, this does not stop me wondering how we can ensure effective democratic control over the process of withdrawal. The Liberal Democrats propose to hold a second referendum once a new deal has been agreed, with the choice being to accept the deal or to remain in the EU.
The flaw in that is if we rejected the agreed deal our Government would have no unilateral right to decide we would stay in the EU after all; in fact with the formal Article 50 notice of our intention to leave the EU having been served, it is uncertain whether it would be legal under the EU treaties for the notice to be rescinded, even if all the other EU governments agreed to allow it.
And if they did agree to the UK changing its mind, after two years of fraught negotiations, they would no doubt demand a price for it, such as a commitment we would join the euro.
It seems to me that effective democratic control has to be exercised at a much earlier stage, that is during the negotiations rather than when they have been concluded and it is too late to change anything – which is what has happened in the past with the negotiation of EU treaties – and that could only be done by a committee of MPs following every twist and turn of the process.
Dr DR Cooper
Belmont Park Avenue
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