DExEU – BINDING NATURE OF THE EU REFERENDUM – 7 November 2016

Dr Julian Lewis: Does not my right hon. Friend [John Redwood] find it rather strange that, although the people on the remain side who do not want to accept the verdict of the electorate in the referendum want to drag out and delay the process of triggering article 50, the other members of the European Union want us to get on with it? We talk about the binding nature, or otherwise, of the referendum, but is not the person who best illustrates its binding nature none other than David Cameron? If it was just an advisory referendum, why on earth did he feel it necessary to announce his resignation the following day?

[John Redwood: That is another piece of evidence – of which there is so much – that it was not an advisory referendum. We know that from ministerial statements at the Dispatch Box, from the Hansard records of the passage of the legislation and from the leaflets that were sent to every household. That was one of the few things on which the remain campaign and the leave campaign agreed. Both stressed to the voters the fact that this was deathly serious, that it was their decision and that if they got it wrong, they might not like the answer. Indeed, the whole purpose of the remain campaign, as I saw it, was to terrify people. It worked on the premise that if we voted to leave, we would be out. I remember ​Mr Dimbleby announcing the final result on television – the BBC was a bit reluctant to get to that point, but it eventually did so – that we were out of the European Union. He did not say, “Oh, we’ve just had an interesting advisory vote and maybe some people in Parliament will now think they ought to do something about it.”]