H/t reader squodgy:
“Exactly as predicted.
Democracy at work.”
- working in Brussels sends extraordinary letter to all MPs
- Henry Smith tells MailOnline it is ‘breathtaking’ that an EU employee should ‘seek to interfere with a British democratic decision’
- Tory MP for Crawley posted letter from Brussels-based worker on Twitter
- EU employee lists extraordinary reasons why MPs should block Brexit vote
- Remarkably, she claims referendum ‘wasn’t an exercise in real democracy’
- Urged MP not to support triggering Brexit despite clear referendum vote
- Comes amid row over whether PM or parliament has final say over leaving
An extraordinary attempt to block Britain leaving the EU has been revealed after a European Commission staff member sent a letter to all MPs demanding they vote to prevent Brexit.
Tory MP Henry Smith highlighted the missive – sent from a British citizen working for the EU in Brussels – and has sent a copy of the letter to MailOnline, which you can read in full below.
The employee says politicians should not support invoking Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty despite the clear Leave vote in the referendum.
She wrote a list of remarkable claims on why MPs should block last month’s Brexit vote.
Among the most outlandish was a claim the referendum was ‘not an exercise in real democracy’ – despite a record 33.5million people turning out to vote.
She also told MPs to reject the Brexit result – backed by 52 per cent to 48 – because the decision was too ‘complex’ for the ‘uninformed’ electorate.
But the EU employee – a British citizen now living in Brussels who Mr Smith refused to name – did admit: ‘I’m aware that you may see me as a turkey trying to overturn a vote for Christmas.’
Mr Smith, MP for Crawley, told MailOnline it was ‘breathtaking’ that an employee working for the ‘remote’ European Commission should ‘seek to interfere with a British democratic decision’.
The lobbying emerged amid a major constitutional row over whether the Prime Minister can trigger Article 50 – the formal mechanism for exiting the EU – or parliament has to approve the move.
Top law firm Mishcon de Reya has threatened to take the government to court if it does not call a Commons vote before activating the Treaty.
If successful, the bid could hand MPs – three quarters of whom supported Remain – the power to delay our departure and control the terms.
David Cameron has insisted it will be the duty of his successor to trigger the mechanism after he resigning in the wake of the referendum’s bombshell Leave victory.
Home Secretary Theresa May, the favourite to take over as PM, and Justice Secretary Michael Gove have suggested they would not push ahead with the move this year.
But Andrea Leadsom, who supported Brexit, has insisted Article 50 should be activated as soon as possible to give investors and the public certainty.
Tory MP Henry Smith, who supported Leave in the referendum, expressed his amazement at the letter
Today the Cabinet minister Oliver Letwin said there were ‘conflicting views’ over whether Article 50 can be invoked under prerogative powers or required parliamentary approval.
Mr Letwin told the foreign affairs committee: ‘It is entirely a matter for the new administration to take how to conduct the entire negotiations, and obviously part of that decision is about when to trigger Article 50.’
‘I am advised that the Government lawyers’ view is that it clearly is a prerogative power. No doubt that will be heard in court.’
Mr Letwin said the issue was ‘academic’ because the withdrawal process will also involve either repealing or amending the 1972 European Communities Act, which will require debates and votes in both Houses of Parliament.
The letter – sent by an EU employee but in a personal capacity – sent to Mr Smith is understood to have been sent to a number of MPs amid growing efforts by pro-EU campaigners to overturn last month’s Brexit vote.
It also exposes that the efforts come from the heart of the European Commission. The full letter can be read below.