Simon Clarke is a Conservative MP: he was elected to Parliament just one year ago. He’s a 33 year-old solicitor. In Mr Clarke’s constituency, Middlesborough South and East Cleveland, two-thirds of the constituents voted for the UK to leave the European Union. In all of the arcane and invariably disingenuous waffle that the British political class has been spewing out since the result of the EU Referendum in June 2016, Mr Clarke’s speech in the House of Commons last week was a breath of fresh air. Here it is reproduced in full in case you missed it.

‘It seems to me that Brexit is in fact quite a simple concept. My constituents knew that they were voting for 3 things: to have control of our immigration policy, to leave the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice and to determine our trade policy. That is why it is so essential that we leave both the single market and the customs union. Neither institution is compatible with delivering what my constituents and our country voted for.

That is why I stand in frank disbelief at the nature of some of the comments we have heard this afternoon. I always regret what is called blue-on-blue action, but I cannot stand by the comments made by my Right Honourable Friend the Member for Broxtowe (Anna Soubry), who said that we have to “suck it up”. My constituents voted to leave the European Union precisely because they were not going to suck it up and because they knew what they wanted, which is for us to leave the European Union.

Fidelity to that vote, to our voters and to the promises that are implicit between the governing and the governed is essential to the health of our democracy, not just in the context of this debate but for the years and centuries that stretch ahead. It is clear to me that, as the Right Honourable Member for Don Valley (Caroline Flint) said, if we break faith and ignore their voice we will have created the most almighty problem for ourselves. Indeed, we will have lost the chance to have a more sensible debate about issues such as immigration, which have stirred such passions. We will only ever be able to get to a place where we can have a more balanced and constructive conversation once we have accountability in this House for who comes to our country and on what terms.

With that in mind, we have to recognise, when we hear comments about how this is playing to extremists, that the real danger with extremism in our politics is if we ignore what people voted for. We have seen in Germany, in Italy and even in the United States what happens when people believe that their voice is not being respected. That is the danger here – because, my goodness, we will look back on this as the most cataclysmic mistake if we unleash some of the forces which are all too eager for this House to fail to deliver what the British people voted for. That is my warning to colleagues, and that is why I will categorically not vote for any amendment that fails to deliver the Brexit that this country demands.’

There you have it.

In even fewer words, if the British political class fails to honour the result of the EU Referendum by failing to remove the UK from the EU Customs Union, the Single Market and the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice there will be hell to pay in our society. A failure to deliver Brexit will indicate to the British people that voting for something, anything is a waste of time. And when people in a democracy, or what they think is a democracy, discover that voting is a waste of time, they turn to other means to get their point across to those who govern them. And we really don’t want to go there.

Three cheers for Mr Clarke MP! I hope my own Member of Parliament, Mr Douglas Ross, listened intently to Mr Clarke’s eloquent speech.










  1. your last paragraph “there will be hell to pay”. I only hope there is. Whoever scheduled all of this to happen smack in the middle of the World Cup deserves the Mandelson Award for craftiness.


  2. flyer · ·

    The frightening thing to me in recent years is just how little respect that remainers here in the UK and Liberals worldwide seem to have for democracy now. If they don’t get their own way with the electorate, they vilify their oponents and generally throw their toys out of the pram.

    It’s even now becoming difficult for a country to enforce its own laws without mass hysteria from the mainstream media and liberal / left politicians screaming out loud. The lies and deceit over the years has been incredible, treason in itself, never mind anything else that’s happened.

    I worry that if we ever get clear of the EU, we’ll be up against the same problems with the United Nations, if the EU breaks up, the UN will just take over. I do hope I’m wrong.

    We need our democracy back and certain people need to be made to respect it.

    I’ll leave it there as I’m doing my best to stop this becoming an abusive rant, I’ve never been so furious in my life.


    1. A cousin was a senior government official during Mrs T’s premiership, and recalls her saying to a Foreign Office civil servant: ” I’m so glad I’m not one of your class, upper middle-class intellectuals who have nothing but contempt for the views and principles of ordinary people while having none of your own”.


  3. MM, thanks for posting this; I’d read about it, but have been too occupied to hunt for Mr Clarke’s speech – what a corker!

    For me, the most telling and accurate sentence was that about the danger of extremism being fuelled by by ignoring the people’s wishes. Does anyone recall the Eurosceptics being listened to at the time of the acceptance and implementation of the Maastricht and Lisbon treaties? Did the HoL attempt to impose multiple amendments then to acknowledge our views? Answers on the back of a postage stamp please!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. reallyoldbill · ·

    The really amazing thing about Anna Soubry is that she was selected as a Conservative candidate at the last election. Her constituency voted to leave but she was known to be a strident Remainer. There is something wrong there to start with. Having listened to her speak on the subject in the chamber on more than one occasion she always insists that the views “of the 48% must be respected”, but that is like saying any government elected on a slim majority should be required to enact the policies of the opposition which lost the election. The simple fact is that you cannot please both sides of this argument: there is just Brexit or no Brexit, and it was made very clear during both the referendum and in the subsequent general election material produced by both Tories and Labour that leaving the EU included leaving both the Single Market and the Customs Union. The likes of Soubry and Grieve stood on that manifesto promise, and once elected they have done nothing but work against it. That is dishonourable, dishonest and cowardly in equal measure but above all it is undemocratic. They should have resigned from the party and stood as independents if they couldn’t support the Conservative manifesto pledge and see how they got on, otherwise it means that people have absolutely no idea what they are really voting for at elections because a candidate can lie through their teeth to get votes. That is absurd if we are to pretend that democracy actually means anything.

    Whatever finally emerges from the Brexit shambles in parliament, and we have to hope that there are sufficient sensible MPs on both sides like Flint and Clarke who understand what is at stake here besides Brexit, the whole episode has exposed serious flaws in our constitutional arrangements which are no longer fit for purpose. A “meaningful vote” ( the very thing allegedly wanted by Grieve) was held in June 2016 at the express request of parliament and a clear majority emerged among the electorate. To now see the likes of Grieve insisting that parliament can lawfully override that majority by political slight of hand, ably assisted by a wholly unelected and totally unrepresentative upper house, shows that, at least in his mind, the votes of the people actually count for nothing and we are governed by a tiny group of privileged parliamentarians who dwell in a separate and pampered world entirely funded by us. How does that, in the final analysis, make us better off than the serfs of the Dark Ages ruled by barons and an almighty king? How ironic then that those who made so much fuss about celebrating the 100th anniversary of votes for women just this year should also be the ones busy working to prove that it was a hollow achievement because votes hold no power to alter our destiny at all: we are merely serfs who are at the mercy of our masters. Elections have been rendered the equivalent of the Games in ancient Rome, a device to keep the masses in their place. Well another major shock may be coming the way of the establishment if they believe that will now work any longer.

    It is now vital that Brexit is delivered in full, in line with promises made both during the referendum and the general election last year and which were supported by a clear majority of the electorate. Unless it is, democracy will not just be dead, but exposed to be so, and that has unknowable and potentially catastrophic consequences for us all. You really would think that supposedly intelligent MPs like Grieve and Soubry would be able to grasp that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Spot on as usual, Bill. At times I wonder if there is some great conspiracy going on here. At some level there is because the European Union always was a conspiracy to deceive national electorates into believing that the EU was good for them. It is not, of course; never was and never will be. To that extent I take heart from believing that in the end the European Union will collapse in the same way that the political construct that was the USSR collapsed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. reallyoldbill · ·

        I have never been a conspiracy theorist, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny that the establishment regard democracy as an inconvenient imposition on their right to govern the people in any way that they see fit, regardless of the views or wishes of those being governed. Examples of decisions which have been made that clearly don’t benefit the majority of citizens, and in many cases actually disadvantage them and their better interests, abound. When that contempt for democratic accountability is assisted by money from shadowy and in some cases foreign sources there is a real reason to worry that, as Peter Mandelson once famously said: “We are living in the post-democratic age.” The problem is that an increasing number of people are coming to recognise that, have never consented to it and will not accept it. Brexit has probably crystallised that more than anything in recent British history. That leaves the establishment with a serious problem: either accept that they have been rumbled and bow to the wishes of the majority or impose their will through draconian measures which would be open tyranny and an admission that Mandelson was right. Personally I don’t believe that the British as a whole would accept the latter course because it would be a repudiation of their long, glorious and on occasion cantankerous history. I sometimes wonder if many of our politicians and their advisers have ever read any of it. If so, they certainly draw the right lessons from it.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. reallyoldbill · ·

          The last line should, of course, read: didn’t draw the right lessons from it.

          Liked by 1 person

  5. My wife isn’t overly interested in politics, but she is pretty shrewd. We were discussing the issue of leaving the EU and she brought up the Northern Ireland border issue as an example of how we are being shafted by the government in cahoots with the EU. She pointed out that which should be obvious, that the border is purely an issue for the EU, not us. Ireland is not in Schengen so theoretically any border control relating to passengers would take place at the Irish border, if teh Irish are worried about people enetering the EU through Ireland from Britain they can put up a border control if they wish. The customs issue is a separate matter. The EU wont admit it, but they are the only ones who would want a hard border. Their fear is that Britain would once outside of the confines of the “customs union” would be able to strike up favourable deals with countries outside of the EU and with no border between NI and the Republic these goods could enter into free circulation without Brussels grabbing its taxes. However that is not our problem, it’s theirs.

    I think it is fairly obvious now that the state has been working against us throughout. The constant rubbish about cliff edges being a prime example. The government, considering how much time has elapsed since the vote, should have set out from day one after triggering article 50 that our default position is no deal. ie WTO rules and worked night and day with that goal in mind. The fact that we are some nine months away from leaving and still unable to get any kind of deal from the EU is indicative of the abject failure to deal with the issue. It would have focussed the EU’s mind on coming up with a deal. In the event we have the hapless May now pushing the stuff that they decried during the referendum as a falsehood. Namely spending the dividiend on the NHS (personally I cant think of a worse way to waste the money, but that’s another discussion altogether.)

    For my sins I worked in Customs doing import export about thirty odd years ago. At the time they had a unix based database that recorded the imports (no such system for exports outside of the EU) At that time the EEC as it was then had brought in a new Single Adminsitrative Document approriately enough called a SAD or as UK customs labelled it the C88 since it came into force in 1988. This eight part peice of paper followed the goods from the source to the destination with a bit of paper going back to teh source to confirm it had arrived. When it reached the UK the details were entered onto the system by agents. This then collected any revenue and VAT. Goods from outside the EEC would be liable to taxes and the usual stuff like booze and fags etc. The computer would then pick out a selection. Goods for paper exam would be route 1, goods for physical and paper exam would be route 2 and the overwhelming majority would be route 3 which meant they were automatically cleared. Not that long after they brought in Maastricht with the single market and most of this vanished. The goods were then entered by the supplier at source and Customs had hardly any involvement. Given how technology has advanced since then it would not be particularly challenging to continue using the same system. It is all risk based and the idea that we will have trucks stuck in Calais waiting to get to Dover because of Customs delays is frankly laughable. This is just project fear continued by the likes of the loathesome Anna Soubry and the slimy Grieve et al. I really hope these clowns lose their seats as they are not doing what their voters have asked them to do. In not doing this as you rightly observe they are treading a dangerous path. The Lords have already signed their own abolition warrant.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. moraymint · ·

      Excellent comment, LT; thanks. One could despair, of course – especially at the prospect of yet more of our taxes being chucked liberally at the black-hole that is the (Inter)National Health Service. That is utter folly, but consistent with the endemic incompetence of our political class.



    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gordon Diffey · ·

    Spot on and good to hear

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Susan Playfair · ·

    Most excellent post! Commented as aluinn

    Hugs to you all

    Liked by 1 person

    1. moraymint · ·

      … and to you!


  9. aluinn · ·

    Succint summary of what voters voted for and why acting on their wishes is inherent if the Uk is ademocracy. “Its not rocket science, now get on with it.”

    Liked by 1 person


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