Unlock Democracy responds to the Brexit white paper: We need a democratic Brexit, not an establishment Brexit

On 2 February 2017 the government published its white paper on Brexit. The paper outlines the government’s objectives for a new partnership with the European Union.

Responding to the white paper, Unlock Democracy's Director, Alexandra Runswick, said:

“While the Brexit white paper marked a first step in a long walk to greater transparency, it is thin on ideas and even thinner on detail. Given the government’s lack of interest to date in meaningfully engaging with devolved parliaments, the people, and civil society, it now has a great deal of work to do to fulfill its own commitments to nationwide consensus building, consultation, and upholding its responsibility to deliver a fair deal for the people of the UK.

“Despite the government recognising parliamentary sovereignty as a ‘fundamental principle’ of the UK constitution, the white paper noticeably omitted any concrete plan for what parliamentary scrutiny will look like in practice. The fact that the government chose to publish the white paper only after Parliament had voted to trigger Article 50 is not a good sign. Without a written constitution the government is bound by no red lines or guiding principles, and has in effect a blank cheque to do as it pleases. All our rights and freedoms could be put on the negotiating table.

“That business was mentioned more times than people should serve as a stark reminder for those hoping to take back control, of where the government's priorities really lie. We need a democratic Brexit, not an establishment Brexit, if we want the very best Brexit deal for the people of the UK. If our democracy is to remain intact during Brexit and beyond, the government must empower parliament to robustly scrutinise negotiations, facilitate meaningful input from devolved parliaments, and commit to engaging the public and not just corporate interests.”


Notes to editors:

  • Unlock Democracy is the UK’s leading campaign for democratic reform, and exists to put power in the hands of the people. The organisation believes that a vibrant, inclusive democracy makes everyone’s lives better

Media contact:

  • For more information, or to organise an extended comment / interview, please contact Sarah Clarke, Unlock Democracy's Policy and Communications Officer, by phone on 07983 280 187 or via email at sarah.clarke@unlockdemocracy.org.uk

Samuel EllisBrexitComment