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Lichfield Conservative councillor insists Brexit referendum result must be respected

A Conservative councillor has told a Lib Dem rival to respect the views of those who voted for him when it comes to Brexit.

Cllr Jon O'Hagan
Cllr Jon O’Hagan

Cllr Jon O’Hagan’s remarks come after Cllr Paul Ray criticised local MP Michael Fabricant’s stance on the UK’s departure from the European Union.

The Lib Dem representative said he needed to “get real” over the risks of a no-deal.

But Cllr O’Hagan said the will of the people must be respected.

“One point that should be remembered is that this country held a legally binding referendum,” he said.

“It was not an opinion poll. It was not merely advisory.

“The people of Chadsmead, Lichfield and the UK voted for Brexit. The Government now has to deliver Brexit.

Paul Ray
Cllr Paul Ray

“It is high time Cllr Ray remembers that the people who voted him onto the council also voted for Brexit.”

But his Lib Dem rival insisted the facts around the impact of Brexit could not be ignored.

“I’m wanting to protect Chadsmead’s residents jobs,” he said. “There’s no point being blindly ideological and anti-EU when business is warning that Brexit is going to harm our industry and levels of employment.”

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6 Comments

  1. Darryl

    9th January, 2019 at 11:34 am

    Jon O’Hagan should really educate himself, ignoring the inaccurate things he has said about the referendum, what is his opinion about the illegal electoral activities currently being investigated by the National Crime Agency?

    In all honesty, I could care less about a Tory councillor, the Tory government has debased itself to the point of insignificance, that this man could stand in speakers corner for days and have no impact on what happens in Westminster.

    The Tories have and always will be, out for themselves. Cameron created this mess to save the Tory party, this continued with Mays acquiescence to the ERG and the criminally imprudence of £1bn of our money to the DUP to stay in power. Why anyone would vote Conservative is a mystery.

  2. Christine Rapley

    9th January, 2019 at 12:00 pm

    Cllr O’Hagan is being curly whirly in denying that the EU Referendum was advisory. Just look at the Briefing Paper number 07212 dated 3 June 2015 to MPs which states “It does not contain any requirement for the UK government to implement the results of the referendum…. enables the electorate to voice an opinion which then influences the government in its policy decisions … The UK does not have constitutional provisions which would require the results of a referendum to be implemented.”
    The Supreme Court confirmed “A referendum on any topic can only be advisory for the lawmakers in Parliament”
    “So, purely as a matter of law, neither the government nor Parliament has to do anything about the referendum.” .
    All the mess is a product of politicians using an advisory referendum as though it is legally enforceable. Suggesting there is a mandate for this chaos. It is entirely up to Parliament what they do with the result. Brexiter MPs are an abomination. Cllr O’Hagan like Michael Fabricant is not acting in best interest of the UK. Brexit is ruining our country. They should resign.
    Former diplomat Brian Barder said ” “members of parliament owe the electorate their own best judgement of the national interest—taking into account the referendum result—not their obedience to the opinions of a narrow majority in a referendum or otherwise”. The result was won by electoral law breaking, lies, deceit etc. This deceit continues. Brexit is losing jobs and investment – from the UK going to the EU27 etc. These dingbat Brexiter politicians seem not to have considered that UK leaving the EU puts us in competition with the EU27.
    The EU Referendum may be politically binding but not legally. Tory government put on a leaflet to all voters that they would implement the decision. But an advisory referendum can not make a decision. The Supreme Court has made it clear that only Parliament can agree whether or not the result is going to be carried out. Parliament is sovereign. Not the government.

    You have to wonder why Cllr O’Hagan and Fabricant support a No Deal which would be catastrophic. Especially for manufacturing. Are they more concerned about their continuing status as MP and Councillor than the best interest of people and country? It looks that way to me. Brexit is insane nonsense. Most people are unaware of what it has already cost us. The NHS is having to spend £900m more this year on medicines due to the £ diving. It will dive further. Some Brexiters are making money out of the £. People with money and resources are able to exploit those without. People were conned. The causes of austerity and most problems are our government – and nothing to do with the EU.

  3. 66usual

    9th January, 2019 at 10:28 pm

    I think what’s notable here is that Cllr O’Hagan has achieved the remarkable feat of marking Cllr Ray look intelligent and balanced.
    Jon, as has been pointed out, you are factually incorrect.

  4. Nic Carlyle

    10th January, 2019 at 2:51 am

    The phrase used by Cllr O’Hagan of the referendum as “legally binding” may be factually incorrect. The referendum as politically binding is far closer to the truth. Could Cllr O’Hagan please provide reference in primary legislation as to the legally binding nature of the referendum?

  5. AgitatorofPeople

    10th January, 2019 at 8:23 am

    5000 jobs lost at Jaguar Land Rover just announced Brexit and reduced sales to rest of world particularly China one of the countries held up by Brexiteers as WTO gold, and the worst Christmas sales figures on the High Street for a decade.
    I would go as far as say dont even go for another vote and revoke article 50 and just stop this mess, take back control in the EU, they have seen what it was going to cost losing a major member state, we should be kicking their arses into a better deal from within the EU.

  6. Steve Lyons

    10th January, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    A few points:

    1) The comments made show a worrying lack of understanding about our constitution. This country is a Parliamentary democracy. It is not, and never has been, a direct democracy. Sovereignty does not lie with “the people”, but with the Queen in Parliament. Under the constitution, the results of a referendum may be politically potent, but they cannot be and are not binding.

    2) Democracy is a process not an event. In other words, the “will of the people” is not a fixed thing, but something which changes and develops over time. If that were not so, it has to be questioned why, for example, the Conservative Party did not disband in 1997 when the election results demonstrated a strong public desire to be governed by Labour. It also has to be questioned why those who opposed EU membership did not respect the “will of the people” as expressed in the 1975 referendum.

    3) To talk of the “will of the people” is, in any event, a somewhat simplistic reading of the referendum result. The results show that the people were fairly evenly divided with those who voted for leave outnumbering those who voted to remain by a small margin. It certainly was not an overwhelming victory for leave. It should perhaps be remembered that the 48% who wanted to remain (including a majority of the electorate in Scotland and Northern Ireland) are also part of the people, and that they too have views that should be respected.

    4) Councillor Ray is a Liberal Democrat. The belief that, more than any other, defines his party is that it is pro-EU. It is reasonable to assume that those who elected Councillor Ray, as a Liberal Democrat candidate, were well aware of that. It would be surprising if they were not. His stance is, therefore, perfectly in line with his electoral mandate.

    5) The support for hard Brexit with no-deal is difficult to understand. The sensitivities surrounding the Irish border are well understood. Is it the case that those who support hard Brexit feel that the peace that has been achieved in Northern Ireland through the Good Friday agreement is worth sacrificing on the alter of their antipathy to the EU? Further, it is common ground between the CBI, the Institute of Directors, the TUC and the Governor of the Bank of England that Brexit will do immense harm to the economy, and no deal Brexit even more so. The government’s own forecasts say as much. Are we entitled to know how much damage the Brexiteers consider to be a price worth paying, and whether Mr Fabricant will be planning to meet personally with those of his electorate who lose their jobs as a result to explain why their impoverishment was, in his view, worth it?

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