Give Parliament a vote on Britain's Single Market membership
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In light of the electorate’s decision to leave the European Union, and the Government’s stance on our membership of the Single Market, I have created a UK Government and Parliament E-petition calling on the incumbent Government to hold a parliamentary vote on Britain’s membership of the Euro Economic Agreement (Single Market). This will give our elected representatives the opportunity to decide whether it is in our best interests, for businesses and the economy to ultimately withdraw.
As an A-Level student studying Government and Politics, this issue of such constitutional significance is highly interesting. However, in conducting research into the matter I have also found that the government will be, if not putting the subject to Parliament, in breach of constitutional practices that will subvert the very apex of our democratic system- parliamentary democracy. I hope to demonstrate to you how this is the case.
Article 127 of the 1994 EEA Agreement states Each Contracting Party may withdraw from its Agreement provided it gives at least twelve months' notice in writing to the other Contracting Parties. Indeed, it states: "Immediately after the notification of the intended withdrawal, the other Contracting Parties shall convene a diplomatic conference in order to envisage the necessary modifications to bring to the Agreement".
However, because the UK is a separate 'contracting party' to this agreement, leaving the European Union does not automatically result in a cessation of EEA membership. Indeed, as British European Economic Area membership is enshrined into UK law through the 1993 EEA Agreement Act, then, due to parliamentary sovereignty, triggering Article 127 requires the vote of our legislature before it can be formally triggered.
In spite of this, the government have acted rather inconsistently, and appear ambivalent to approach the subject face on. Originally, after challenging the Government through the Divisional Court on the topic of Article 127, the (Single Market Justice) SMJ campaign reported that the Government accepted that Article 126 does not “give rise to the termination of the EEA Agreement ipso jure”.
Yet, surprisingly, the Department for Exiting the European Union seemed to somewhat u-turn, stating that the EEA Agreement will “no longer be relevant for the UK“, “it will have no practical effect” and therefore “we do not envisage a vote”. What is clear here is that the government clearly are not giving this urgent matter the attention it deserves.
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