EU Referendum

Referendums aren’t set in stone

BY Allan Massie   /  29 July 2019

Writing here last week Gerald Warner declared that “there is no moral or qualitative difference between repudiating the result of the 2016 EU referendum and blocking the outcome of the 1945 general election, or the 1979 election… You either accept the democratic verdict produced by universal suffrage, or you don’t…”

Well, I see his point of course. As Labour’s Attorney-General, Sir Hartley Shawcross, told the House of Commons after his party’s sweeping victory in that 1945 election, “we are the masters now”. So indeed they were, and the defeated Conservative Party accepted the result and set to work preparing to win the next election. They failed in 1950, though they reduced Labour’s majority in the Commons to single figures, but succeeded the following year when Labour chose to go to the polls again. Labour was no longer the master.


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