The Liberal Democrats should learn to respect democracy, even if they don't like the Brexit result

Telegraph View
Liberal Democrats leader Tim Farron - Ben Birchall 

Is there any party less aptly named than the Liberal Democrats? A truly liberal party would embrace the chance to shape Britain’s future as a self-governing nation outside the EU, free to trade with the world. And a democratic one would respect what the people voted for in one of the biggest exercises of democracy in modern times. Instead, the Lib Dems want to stop Brexit.

With only nine MPs, the Lib Dems can do little harm in the House of Commons, but there are over 100 of them in the House of Lords, many rashly given peerages by David Cameron to placate his Coalition allies. Those peers are seeking to force the Government to hold a second referendum on the final Brexit deal; they say they will vote against the Bill that will authorise Theresa May to trigger Article 50 unless their scheme for another public vote is written into law.

The Lib Dems say they wish to give people a say on Brexit. They deliberately ignore the fact the voters have had that say, and clearly chose to Leave. If the Lib Dem plan for another referendum were enacted, the British people would not take kindly to being asked to vote again, and would very likely vote again for Brexit, but by an even larger margin. Doubtless that would simply lead to Lib Dem calls for a third referendum, and so on until the voters gave the “right” result.

In this, the Lib Dems are simply following the traditions of the EU they defend so passionately. Brussels has a long history of ignoring and even overturning referendum votes it finds inconvenient. Instead of trying to overturn the referendum vote, the Lib Dems should learn from it by reflecting that such contempt for democracy was one the major reasons Britain voted to leave.

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