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A Letter To The Prime Minister

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J.J. PatrickUnited Kingdom
A Letter To The Prime Minister
A letter to the Prime Minister on Brexit, presented without further comment.

12th December 2018

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street

London


Ma'am,

Our last formal correspondence was in 2014 via your honourable colleague Bernard Jenkin MP in his capacity as chair of the then PASC committee, following the inquiry into police recorded crime statistics. I remain in your debt for enhancing the whistleblowing protections for police officers up and down the country after listening to my concerns around the defects in regulation and incorporating them in policy change.

I am also grateful to have heard your Cabinet colleagues considered a nomination for an honour for me in respect of that inquiry, which was supported by MPs and peers. The nomination and consideration was, as I understand it, too late but to have been considered for such a prestigious award suffices.

"I am writing to you as someone who knows you are fair and considerate of sensible requests and information – and only recently wrote to Downing Street to notify your office of a dark influence campaign being operated by so-called ERG members, which was aimed at Cabinet Ministers and attempted to sway the Government towards a no deal Brexit outcome"

I am writing to you as someone who knows you are fair and considerate of sensible requests and information – and only recently wrote to Downing Street to notify your office of a dark influence campaign being operated by so-called ERG members, which was aimed at Cabinet Ministers and attempted to sway the Government towards a no deal Brexit outcome. I am also aware, through other work I do which is not so public, that the Government has listened to broad ranging intelligence analysis and risk warnings on topics from Huawei to Russia and respects the input which comes monthly, for which I am grateful.

Today I wish to raise a view for your consideration on Brexit at this precipitous time. I am assured you will take this view on board, given my personal experience, and am aware that further issues pertaining to the referendum are in the safe and trusted hands of my former colleague and friend Lynne Owens at the NCA, for which I am additionally grateful.

It is my understanding that there is no further deal to be offered by the EU, rather some clarification on the backstop will be returned to Parliament ahead of the debate continuing – subsequently answering the initial concerns raised and allowing the remaining MPs to speak, to take the debate on to the so-called meaningful vote, without resetting the business. I feel this is a respectful outcome.

It is my further understanding that, as a result of the court case on the Article 50 procedure and due to the time spent on negotiations so far, an extension would only granted in order for the UK to settle the issue of how to proceed with Brexit. By all accounts this would only be workable if a three question referendum were to be put to the public, namely a final ballot on no deal, the current withdrawal agreement, or revocation, if the timescale were sufficiently short – three months I believe is seen acceptable in these narrow circumstances – to put the issue to bed with the least disruption to our neighbours and allies.

"Some pledges, when they risk others, can be reversed when new information becomes available and that is not a sign of failure but one of good governance. Additionally, the will of the people is not only fluid in and of itself, but it is the mark of a good leader to do what is best for all and not necessarily what some of them desire some of the time"

As you have made clear, and your manifesto records, you have not formed a single issue Government and Brexit cannot be allowed to affect the delivery of other areas of it, including economic stability and addressing inequality. Some pledges, when they risk others, can be reversed when new information becomes available and that is not a sign of failure but one of good governance. Additionally, the will of the people is not only fluid in and of itself, but it is the mark of a good leader to do what is best for all and not necessarily what some of them desire some of the time.

Based on the legislative and situational surroundings, Parliament and the Government face a simple series of choices, each interacting.

Parliament must first finish the debate on the “in principle” Withdrawal Agreement. If the deal passes the process – though it appears unlikely – it becomes legislation and we proceed on that enshrined basis out of the EU. The process is complete. However, if the deal fails at the stage of a meaningful vote, the Government must then decide on how to proceed and return to the Commons. A similar process would take place if no agreement had been reached, with a deadline of January 21st.

" Should the deal not pass the meaningful vote, and in the absence of an alternate reality in which further deals will be gifted to us by fantastic beasts, you must make a further commitment as regards how a no deal outcome will be defeated and the national interest preserved "

Prime Minister, you must make a commitment to the public and Parliament that no deal is not a tolerable outcome. It would see the rest of your manifesto shredded and show something other than good governance which would be ill remembered – a legacy I cannot believe you would wish for. I know, in fact, you will not see this happen as this is the very meaning behind your use of the phrase “national interest.”

Subsequently, should the deal not pass the meaningful vote, and in the absence of an alternate reality in which further deals will be gifted to us by fantastic beasts, you must make a further commitment as regards how a no deal outcome will be defeated and the national interest preserved – rather than potentially be driven to further confidence motions by last hour amendments of those who failed to properly scrutinise the Withdrawal Act before its passage.

This leaves a rational and considered choice to be placed before Parliament, which is within your gift.

"A sensible procedure would be a second vote in the Commons, this time between the deal on offer and revocation. Thus providing Parliament the sovereignty it claims is absent in this process and silencing criticism around your purported wish to circumvent it – which I do not believe exists"

A sensible procedure would be a second vote in the Commons, this time between the deal on offer and revocation. Thus providing Parliament the sovereignty it claims is absent in this process and silencing criticism around your purported wish to circumvent it – which I do not believe exists.

A second option, a variation, is however available, albeit with much higher risk attached as it does not guarantee the removal of no deal and subsequently does not guarantee the national interest as directly. Parliament could be offered a second vote between the deal, revocation, and putting the matter to a referendum as outlined above – though no guarantees of extension can be made until the question is asked, hence the heightened risk. I can see why you do not express support for this option in the face of the facts and timescales, but do not believe the rationale has been sufficiently well relayed to others.

I believe that you have an opportunity to show good governance, preserve what truly matters in your manifesto, and put the national interest first by pursuing the “sensible procedure” outlined above. It goes to the very heart of the purpose of our Parliament, in that our elected representatives have to make difficult decisions and are placed in these positions to do so.

"We wouldn't go to war simply on the basis half of the registered electorate wanted to without the intervention of Parliamentarians debating our national interest. And Brexit is truly no different. The duty of authority is the same as the duty of a parent, and sometimes that means preventing self harm with a cool head and explaining why you have done so"

We wouldn't go to war simply on the basis half of the registered electorate wanted to without the intervention of Parliamentarians debating our national interest. And Brexit is truly no different. The duty of authority is the same as the duty of a parent, and sometimes that means preventing self harm with a cool head and explaining why you have done so in order that a lesson is learned for the future.

I submit these thoughts for your consideration and wish you well at tonight's vote, where I am hopeful you will prevail because instability at this time would serve only self-interest for a minority and not the national interest in any way.

Yours respectfully,

James Patrick

#Brexit, #Theresa May

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