Leave won because of “the steely courage of millions of voters,” says Claire Fox
Sovereignty is NOT “xenophobic nationalism embraced only by knuckle-dragging gammon”
Above: Baroness Claire Fox, © Academy of Ideas
“Having removed unelected rulers in Brussels, voters might now look closer to home”
On Friday the House of Lords debated the EU-UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement for the second time. Below we publish the speech made by Baroness Fox of Buckley, better known to many people as Claire Fox, former Brexit Party MEP for the North-West, and founder of the Academy of Ideas.
In the upper chamber of Parliament, to be pro-Brexit is to find oneself in a very small minority amongst the ermined class. Undaunted, Baroness Fox expressed herself in typically robust and forthright fashion. We thought readers might want to see what she had to say to their Lordships. After the text of her speech, we are also including a few excerpts from the pro-EU speeches of other Members of the House of Lords on this subject.
Speech in the House of Lords, Baroness Fox of Buckley (non-affiliated), Fri 08 Jan 2021
Published with permission
“My Lords, I voted for the agreement reluctantly. I would have preferred a clean break and the time to scrutinise the small print for the myriad traps it contains.
“However, to give credit to the noble Lord, Lord Frost, this agreement does deliver sovereignty, and that matters. While many in this place sneeringly traduce sovereignty as xenophobic nationalism embraced only by knuckle-dragging gammon, it is historically and now the only basis for democratic accountability. The demos voted to remove the unelected legislature in Brussels, unanswerable to UK voters. Now that is a reality, they may look at unelected lawmakers closer to home - good.
“Good also that the Government have nowhere to hide and will need to look the electorate in the eye and own each and every decision they make, including the egregious parts of this agreement. Voters matter.
“Listening to the hours of contributions last week - I was culled from the speakers’ list - I noted a rather self-congratulatory, back-slapping tone from the Government Benches. It rang rather hollow.
In truth, it was the perseverance and steely courage of millions of voters, who used the ballot box and electoral vehicles such as the pivotal Brexit Party time and again to pile on the pressure, that forced the Conservative Party finally to honour the referendum.
“Let us acknowledge that it is the voters who got Brexit done, against all the odds, against the machinations deployed by the highest echelons of the technocratic establishment and against many in this place who really believed that they had the right to overturn 17.4 million votes and shared with Donald Trump a refusal to give loser’s consent and who even now, today, lack the imagination to see life beyond Brussels or Erasmus or to see Brexit beyond the narrow prism of GDP.
Baroness Claire Fox,
House of Lords, 08 Jan 2021
“Yes, this agreement has flaws, but its existence is proof that a democratic movement can change the course of history. In the context of lockdown Britain, when we will need every ounce of that democratic spirit, bravery and sovereign freedom to rebuild society, it will do for starters.”
- Baroness Fox of Buckley, House of Lords, 08 Jan 2021
Commenting exclusively to Facts4EU.Org at the weekend, Baroness Fox told us:
“To be pro-Brexit in the House of Lords is to understand what being lonely feels like. To be fair, most on the Conservative benches - even those previously pro-EU - have accepted Brexit as a fact of life.
“But on opposition benches their bitter resistance, even now, to a democratic decision, was and is palpable. The fact that so many made petty-minded complaints about the tragedy of losing Erasmus and problems facing touring classical musicians, just made their comments even further removed from the grand principle of sovereignty, and even more stark.
“Meanwhile, party politics started to grate as Tories took all the credit for Brexit. What short memories. Facts4EU.Org has shown [see below – Ed.] using some of the comments in other speeches that day, just how little respect my colleagues feel for the democratic decision of the majority of the country.”
Some excerpts from speeches by their Rejoiner Lordships, 30 Dec 2020 and 08 Jan 2021
Below we present a few excerpts from speeches made by other peers, in the two debates on Brexit in the past 10 days.
“Looking to the future, Labour, as an internationalist party, will forge a close relationship with the EU in the national interest - from the personal, where we want Erasmus-type arrangements so that our young people can live, work and study together, to industrial and service provision, where Europe-wide businesses will flourish where trade is easy, and with our consumers not only being spared import tariffs but having the ability to travel, holiday and explore the lands around our islands.”
- Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town (Lab)
“On our global influence — the final test of government - the world has looked askance as the Brexit saga has played out. People have not been patting us on the back and congratulating us on our pluck and resolve; they have all asked, “Why on earth are you shooting yourselves in the foot?” Incoming President Biden has certainly made it clear where his priorities lie, and it is not with the UK. As of today, the UK has no foreign policy and no capacity to influence international events, or even standards-setting, as part of a single EU response. With a weakened economy, a decimated aid budget and a new reputation for untrustworthiness, our soft and hard power will be less than at any point since before the Napoleonic wars.”
- Lord Newby (LibDem)
“… he is very much mistaken if he thinks the treaty has brought an end to our debates about the European question. My two daughters cried they heard the result of the referendum. They, along with millions of other young people, will not forget or forgive the wanton vandalism of the Brexiteers. Rest assured, the book is far from closed on this issue.”
- Lord Davies of Brixton (Lab)
“The EU did not seek a tilted playing field of this kind. It was the British Government who insisted on power to degrade the rights of British workers. The intent is clear: the Government intend to degrade the rights of British workers. We are warned. We are shamed.”
- Lord Hendy (Lab)
“Brexit and the debates that led to it have seen the release of powerful nationalist forces that will not be put to bed by Brexit.”
- Lord Alderdice (LibDem)
Some things have to be said while we still allowed to do so
The Facts4EU.Org team decided to publish Baroness Cox’s speech because these things need to be said – and read.
The December 2019 general election might have produced a House of Commons more in keeping with the views of the electorate than its predecessor, but there was no change in the second chamber. Their Lordships wittered on regardless, as if the vote to leave the European Union had been a momentary aberration on the part of ‘the great unwashed’.
The will of the people is crystal clear
In the last five years voters have had numerous opportunities to point or re-point the country in the direction they wished to go. After the Referendum itself there was the June 2017 general election, the May 2019 EU Parliament election, and finally the December 2019 general election. The majority of their Lordships appear content to ignore the results of these four great exercises of democratic will, preferring instead to preach their ‘superior’ understanding of what the country needs. Indeed ‘preach’ is certainly the operative word when it comes to the Established Church, as the Lord Bishops are all pro-EU.
In any case, we hope Claire Fox’s speech was appreciated by our readership, if not by most of those ennobled inhabitants of the red leather benches in the House of Lords.
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[ Sources: Baroness Claire Fox of Buckley | Hansard ] Politicians and journalists can contact us for details, as ever.
Brexit Facts4EU.Org, Mon 11 Jan 2021
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