As you know I took the view that the UK would be better, stronger and safer if we remained in the EU, and I campaigned for that outcome. I am therefore disappointed with the result.


However result it was, not an opinion poll, but a decision by the British people as valid as the one taken in 1975, which as a democrat I accept. Accordingly I think what will happen next is that the Government will begin work to mark out our negotiating position to leave the EU before triggering Article 50 of the EU Constitution, the formal mechanism for leaving. I do not know when this will be, but I do not think it in the UK’s interest to do so immediately. The new Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, and the Department will make that decision in due course.


I believe that Parliament should take a close interest in the build up to negotiations, and in the negotiations themselves. As we know the decision to leave was not backed up by any form of manifesto, so it is unclear precisely what terms of leaving will be satisfactory for the British people. These negotiations cannot themselves be subjected to constant referenda, so Parliament is entitled to be consulted and take a view on the people’s behalf.  


A further vote on a decision to leave cannot, in my view, be taken immediately. Despite the claims of misinformation, with which I have some sympathy, there seems little doubt that the campaigns of both sides made clear what the vote was about, and what its consequence would be. It seems undemocratic to order a quick re-run on the basis that some people did not vote, want to change their mind or simply don’t like the result.


Having said that, I do not know and cannot predict what will be the mood of the public in two or three years time, when the terms of leaving the EU are clearer. The British people are sovereign, as is Parliament, and a further referendum is quite constitutionally possible.