Letter to Mr Tusk: take no action under A50 notification until accompanied by a genuine UK mandate to leave

President of the European Council

Dear Mr Tusk,

I ask you please to take no action on the notification it is expected you will receive from the UK government under Article 50 on 29 March unless and until it is accompanied by a genuine mandate from citizens and residents of the UK to leave the EU.  This mandate still does not exist.  Our parliament has been coerced and intimidated by a malevolent nationalist press into accepting the non-binding referendum result of a mere 51.9% of votes cast, or 37.4% of eligible voters, as a mandate for leaving.  It is nothing of the sort.  16-17 year olds, long-term EU27 residents (except from Ireland, Cyprus and Malta) and British citizens resident abroad for more than 15 years were all denied a franchise.  No consent to leave is forthcoming from Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Our Westminster parliament held a merely advisory referendum and, as a consequence, imposed no binding quorum and no universal franchise.  Had the referendum been genuinely binding, it would have needed to set these requirements.  It would have needed to stipulate at least 60% of votes cast or 40% of eligible voters and an inclusive franchise.  Instead, it has behaved with gross dishonesty and cowardice in the face of populist intimidation, treating the marginal simple majority result of an advisory referendum as if it were the supermajority result of a binding referendum.  Our parliament held no formal debate on Brexit such as would have been necessary to convert this advisory referendum result into a genuine sovereign decision to leave the EU by representatives of the people.  It held merely a debate on the procedural matter of notification.  In any other democracy, such behaviour would be regarded as fundamentally unconstitutional.  I, and millions of other UK citizens and residents who wish to remain in the EU, ask you to consider that despite formal parliamentary consent to the notification, this notification is not truly in accordance with the UK’s ‘constitutional requirements’ under Article 50.  Please do not act upon it.  I call on you to block the UK’s purported departure from the EU by all means possible, unless and until this departure receives genuine democratic assent.  The European Union is an entity of supra-national solidarity.  The sovereign affairs of each member state are not sovereign in any absolute sense.  The affairs of the UK are at the same time the affairs of the other 27 member states and vice versa.  I, and the majority of the eligible voters of the UK who did not vote to leave (62.6%), call on you to help us.  It is by no means an exaggeration to say that the UK under the government of Theresa May and the Brexit cabinet is in the grip of a dictatorship.

Yours sincerely,

Austin Harrington


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