The Brexit negotiations are like a nightmare that we cannot wake up from. It is already more than two years since the referendum and we still don’t have an agreement with the other members of the EU, let alone a consensus in Parliament or the country about what our future relationship with the EU should look like. I don’t like the Prime Minister’s plan and the prospect of leaving the EU without a deal scares me rigid. But of one thing I am absolutely convinced: nothing would be worse than holding a second referendum. When Parliament voted for a referendum on our membership of the EU, everyone agreed that the government would implement the result. Nobody said that we should reserve the right to hold a second referendum if implementing the result of the first referendum turned out to be too difficult. What would it say about British democracy if Parliament ignored a clear decision of the British people because it didn’t like the implications of it? How would the 17.4 million people who voted to leave the EU react if they were told that their vote had been ignored? So far we have avoided the rise of a populist demagogue like Donald Trump. If MPs who oppose Brexit were to conspire to frustrate the referendum, extremism would erupt in British politics as night follows day. The legitimacy and authority of Parliament itself would be threatened. Civil disorder could easily follow.
Leaving the European Union was never going to be easy. We have been a member of this organisation for forty years and extricating ourselves will take time and involve painful compromises. But as your Member of Parliament I consider it to be my duty to ensure that we leave the European Union in 2019. The people made a decision in 2016. MPs should drop the dangerous idea of a second referendum and get on and implement the result of the first one.