Ed Miliband is back — and he wants a vote on Brexit.
The former Labour party leader has been fairly quiet since he lost the 2015 general election and stepped down as Labour chief.
But now, according to the Guardian, he’s trying to put together a cross-party coalition of MPs to force a vote on the terms of Brexit. Miliband has the SNP, the Green party, the Liberal Democrats and some pro-Remain Tories supporting his effort.
Today, Conservative MP Stephen Phillips — who voted Leave — said he wanted parliament to debate whether Brexit should involve leaving the single market: “I and many others did not exercise our vote in the referendum so as to restore the sovereignty of this parliament only to see what we regarded as the tyranny of the European Union replaced by that of a government that apparently wishes to ignore the views of the house on the most important issue facing the nation,” he said.
He probably has the support of MP Anna Soubry, who has emerged as the voice of Tory MPs who think that “hard Brexit” is economic suicide.
Given that a majority of MPs in the House of Commons favoured Remain in the EU referendum, this may be Britain’s last, best chance of wriggling out of Brexit or staying in the single market. While the government has treated the referendum as if it were binding, in fact it is the government — not the plebiscite — which has the constitutional power to make the actual decision on whether the UK should be in the EU or not.
Any kind of Brexit decision would face a tough time in the House of Commons. As Morgan Stanley noted several weeks ago, 76% of all MPs favoured Remain, as did 56% of all Conservative MPs. If the House of Commons can wrangle a vote there is a reasonable chance it could derail Brexit:
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