#NoBrexitRoadmap: How to Stop Brexit
Last updated: 3rd Nov 2016
This page outlines our view of the likely route that the UK Government would take in negotiating Brexit, and highlights key campaign areas where Brexit can be blocked. At each step we recommend a few actions you can take to help block Brexit. The more roadblocks we set up on the road to Brexit, the better!
How is Brexit likely to happen?
1. [Updated Nov 2016] We think Theresa May will be forced to negotiate with Parliament before triggering article 50 in 2017, giving Parliament an opportunity to block Brexit, or otherwise, to set the terms on which the UK leaves the EU.
2. Negotiations with the EU will take place. We can expect these to take at least 2 years, and possibly much longer. We assume that extensions to the time-frame for negotiation are likely to be granted by the 27 remaining EU members.
3. During this time, we expect Brexit to damage the UK’s economy, as predicted by the Remain campaign before the referendum. It will also become clear to Leave voters that the Leave campaign’s key pledges cannot be delivered. This will drive a shift in public opinion on Brexit.
4. As Theresa May is unelected, and lacks a democratic mandate for a specific post-Brexit deal with the EU, she will either call a general election or hold a referendum on the Brexit terms that have been negotiated.
5. If May wins a majority in the general election, or the Leave vote prevails in a second referendum, then Brexit would be final.
How can Brexit be stopped?
There are a large number of groups and individuals working on different campaigns and projects. We will highlight the most important ones that we recommend supporting.
We suggest that you share the efforts you take at each roadblock, using the hashtags below, to encourage others to do the same!
- ROADBLOCK 1: A national umbrella organisation unites the post-referendum Remain campaigns (#NoBrexitRoadblock1 #BritainforEurope) [Updated]
- ROADBLOCK 2: Parliament votes against Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock2 #ParliamentVoteNoBrexit #EarlyDayMotion243)
- ROADBLOCK 3: House of Lords votes against Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock3 #LordsVoteNoBrexit)
- ROADBLOCK 4: Legal challenges against triggering article 50 (#NoBrexitRoadblock4 #Article50LegalChallenge) [Updated]
- ROADBLOCK 5: Prosecute Vote Leave Ltd (#NoBrexitRoadblock5 #BrexitJustice #ProsecuteVoteLeave)
- ROADBLOCK 6: Grassroots campaign to change public opinion (#NoBrexitRoadblock6 #GrassrootsRemain)
ROADBLOCK 7: ‘Second referendum’ petition (#NoBrexitRoadblock7 #SecondReferendum)[Complete]
- ROADBLOCK 8: Referendum on terms of Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock8 #BrexitReferendum)
- ROADBLOCK 9: Scotland and Northern Ireland oppose Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock9 #NoBrexitScotland #NoBrexitNorthernIreland)
- ROADBLOCK 10: Progressive Alliance to contest Conservative MP seats (#NoBrexitRoadblock10 #ProgressiveAlliance)
ROADBLOCK 1: A national umbrella organisation unites the post-referendum Remain campaigns (#NoBrexitRoadblock1 #BritainforEurope)
We recommend: Join Britain for Europe as a member.
Why: The separate Remain campaigns need a central leadership and spokespeople so that we can begin to shape the national conversation post-referendum and counter the Leave-focused media narrative on Brexit. As of November 2016, only one group is in a strong position to campaign at a national level for the aims of Remain voters: Britain for Europe. This is a new, nationally inclusive organisation which is being set up with a strategy focus to Prevent Brexit, Mitigate damage from Brexit (if Prevent fails), and Restore EU membership in future (if necessary). Britain for Europe is currently finalising its first mass campaign (as of November 2016).
Our second recommendation is that you join one of the member groups in the Co-ordination Hub or listed in The 48%. The Co-ordination Hub group is leading the attempt to collate all the separate online Remain campaigns under one network.
NB: At this time we cannot recommend supporting Open Britain. Open Britain aims to negotiate a ‘soft’ Brexit which includes membership of the single market. It is not campaigning to block Brexit entirely.
ROADBLOCK 2: Parliament votes against Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock2 #ParliamentVoteNoBrexit #EarlyDayMotion243)
We recommend: Write to your MP, asking them (1) to vote against Brexit, (2) to vote against triggering article 50, and (3) to sign Early Day Motion 243. (Use your own words as this is more effective than sending a form letter.) See also Roadblock 8 below for additional points you may want to make.
Why: The UK is a representative democracy in which the decisions of Parliament are sovereign. The referendum was advisory, and although it was presented to voters as a decisive vote on the UK’s membership of the EU, the result is not binding on Parliament. Parliament has the power and authority to stop Brexit, if MPs vote against it.
MPs have a duty to represent the views of their constituents and to balance these against the national interest. A majority of MPs were pro-Remain before the referendum. We need to ensure that those MPs fulfil their duties and not allow the narrow Leave result to sway their judgement unfairly.
As of November 2016, Early Day Motion 243 has been signed by 18 MPs. This motion seeks to ensure that a referendum on the terms of Brexit will take place. Tell your MP that you want them to sign Early Day Motion 243 if they haven’t already.
ROADBLOCK 3: House of Lords votes against Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock3 #LordsVoteNoBrexit)
We recommend: Write to Baroness Smith of Basildon (Labour), Baroness Stowell of Beeston (Conservative) and Lord Fowler (Conservative), asking them to vote against Brexit and against triggering article 50. Also write to Baroness Wheatcroft (Conservative) to show your support for her suggestion that the the Lords can and should stall Brexit.
Why: The House of Lords can stop Brexit by blocking legislation from the Commons, including any legislation required to trigger article 50 (assuming this is needed), or it can delay proceedings. Baroness Wheatcroft argued in an article in the Guardian that this is exactly the role expected of the House of Lords:
“It is not the role of an unelected House of Lords to thwart the will of the people, but it is our job to ask the government to think again should we believe it is making a mistake. The Commons may be cowed by the narrow majority of the referendum but, on this vital matter, I believe the Lords should urge caution. I hope that there would be a majority prepared to stall the bill through the one session of parliament that is possible before the Parliament Act can be invoked.”
(Baroness Smith is the Shadow Leader of the Lords for Labour, while Baroness Stowell is the Conservative Leader. Lord Fowler will be Speaker of the Lords in the next Parliament.)
ROADBLOCK 4: Legal challenges against triggering article 50 (#NoBrexitRoadblock4 #Article50LegalChallenge) [Updated]
- Follow the progress of the #BrexitJustice campaign.
- Write to your MP, noting the success of the Mishcon de Reya and People’s Challenge case in the High Court, and asking your MP to block Brexit now that the Government has to go through Parliament.
- Help to crowdfund the People’s Challenge defence when the government’s appeal against the High Court verdict reaches the Supreme Court in December.
Why: Three major legal challenges are in play: Marcus J Ball’s #BrexitJustice campaign (see Roadblock 5), the legal challenge from Mishcon de Reya to ensure that article 50 is triggered by Parliament not by the Government, and the People’s Challenge to the Government on Article 50.
[Updated 3rd Nov 2016] The combined Mishcon de Reya and People’s Challenge case was successful in the High Court on 3rd Nov 2016, forcing the Government to seek Parliamentary approval for triggering Article 50 (or pursuing an appeal to the Supreme Court). The success of these cases emphasises the sovereignty of Parliament – providing an important counterpoint to the Leave campaign’s insistence that the referendum result must be implemented at all costs. The focus now should (again) be on lobbying MPs to block Brexit when the Government seeks Parliament’s authorisation for triggering Article 50.
As the Government has stated its intention to appeal the decision, further legal representation needs to be funded – the People’s Challenge team is now asking for £75,000 to fund its defence at the Supreme Court. We recommend supporting this effort.
ROADBLOCK 5: Prosecute Vote Leave Ltd (#NoBrexitRoadblock5 #BrexitJustice #ProsecuteVoteLeave)
We recommend: Support the #BrexitJustice campaign and raise awareness of the campaign!
Why: The leaders of Vote Leave conducted a despicable campaign which was based on lies and misrepresentations. While such claims have also been levelled at the Remain campaign, it’s clear that the scale and degree of deception involved in the Vote Leave campaign pales in comparison.
Marcus J Ball’s BrexitJustice campaign is pursuing a prosecution of Vote Leave Ltd and has raised sufficient funds to take this forwards. A successful prosecution of the leaders of Vote Leave would greatly discredit the Leave campaign and potentially lead to a big shift public opinion. Another possible outcome of this legal challenge is a judicial review of the referendum result.
ROADBLOCK 6: Grassroots campaign to change public opinion (#NoBrexitRoadblock6 #GrassrootsRemain)
We recommend: Check out the Co-ordination Hub and the groups that are part of it to see if there is a specific group that you can get involved with. Other prominent campaign groups are listed on our Links page, or at The 48%.
Why: To stop Brexit and ensure that it remains off the government’s agenda, there will need to be a clear, new democratic mandate for remaining in the UK. This will require that we demonstrate a shift in public opinion.
A large number of groups are working in this area, so instead of recommending specific groups, we suggest looking for an existing group that is working on a project you can support. Alternatively, you can find and join a group that meets in your local area. In London, several groups have formed out of former Stronger In supporters and the most advanced are already putting together working committees and organising events. If your local group is not doing this, suggest that it does!
ROADBLOCK 7: ‘Second referendum’ petition (#NoBrexitRoadblock7 #SecondReferendum) [Complete]
On 5th September 2016 MPs in Westminster Hall debated the Parliamentary petition for a second referendum which was signed by more than 4 million people. While there was general agreement that the petition could not be implemented as written, it enabled MPs to have their say on various Brexit issues and make a case for a referendum on the terms of Brexit.
No further action is needed on this Roadblock.
ROADBLOCK 8: Referendum on terms of Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock8 #BrexitReferendum)
We recommend: Write to your MP asking them to demand that the Government calls for a second referendum on the terms of Brexit and ask them to confirm that they will not vote for any Brexit deal unless Parliament approves the deal or a second referendum returns a mandate for the specific Brexit deal that is negotiated.
Why: A referendum on the terms of Brexit is necessary to ensure that the specific Brexit deal that the Government negotiates has a democratic mandate – unless a general election is held instead. We recommend writing to MPs to ask that this happens and to prevent Brexit from being implemented without further deliberation by Parliament or by voters.
As Jeremy Corbyn was re-elected Labour leader in September 2016 with a larger mandate than previously, we recommend supporting the Liberal Democrats as the only party committed to remaining in the EU.
ROADBLOCK 9: Scotland and Northern Ireland oppose Brexit (#NoBrexitRoadblock9 #NoBrexitScotland #NoBrexitNorthernIreland)
We recommend: If you live in Scotland or Northern Ireland, we recommend contacting your devolved government representative to make your views heard. If you live outside of these regions, we recommend adding this point to your correspondence with your MP and others.
Why: Scotland and Northern Ireland voted to remain the EU while England and Wales voted to Leave. The UK Government must take the interests of its constituent nations into account, out of respect for the democratic principle of subsidiarity and for the interests of the people of Scotland and Northern Ireland, who must not be forced out of the EU against their will.
ROADBLOCK 10: Progressive Alliance to contest Conservative MP seats (#NoBrexitRoadblock10 #ProgressiveAlliance)
Why: If a general election is called and Brexit has not yet been finalised, we expect the election to be fought along Leave/Remain lines, with party politics a secondary concern. A number of groups are promoting the idea of the non-Conservative parties (Labour, Liberal Democrats, Green etc.) collaborating to field only one opposition candidate in Conservative-held constituencies, to pool the anti-Conservative vote. This would allow a progressive coalition to enter government and stop Brexit.
In terms of the major political parties, currently, the Liberal Democrats have been the most vocal about stopping Brexit, so we recommend supporting the Liberal Democrats in elections until we have a clearer understanding of parties’ positions and whether they would co-operate to stop Brexit or not.
Either way, it’s clear that a major realignment of British politics is needed.