A Foreign Friend’s Guide to Brexit and UK Democracy”

Graham Charles Lear
6 min readSep 8, 2019


The rest of the world is looking on with astonishment and incredulity at the state of democracy in the country which is generally seen as its birthplace.

Just as with the media in the UK, significant elements of the non-EU foreign media are pro-EU — mainly because their Brussels correspondents “go native” and their newsdesks back home know little about the EU, thinking it’s a trading bloc. Those that do know something tend to be of the ‘open borders, love everyone equally’ persuasion.

Here, then is your handy summary for your friends in other countries. Readers may also find this useful for their British Remainer friends.

“My Foreign Friend’s Guide to Brexit and UK Democracy”

The EU Referendum on 23 June 2016

In 2016 the British people voted to leave the European Union in the largest vote for anything, everThe Government, all parties, and all campaign groups for and against Brexit — committed to honour the result

The Prime Minister even promised to give notice to the EU “the next day” if the people voted to leave

There was no condition on whether to leave only on the EU’s terms — the choice was Remain or Leave

Nothing happened for the next nine months

The Government broke its promise to the voters and failed to give notice the next day

Prime Minister Cameron resigned and the new PM (Theresa May) was appointed

The new PM chose a new Cabinet of ministers which was 74% pro-EU (i.e. had voted to Remain)

She delayed giving notice to the EU for nine months and eventually did so on 29 March 2017

Eventually, our pro-Remain Parliament voted by five-to-one to give notice to the EU

The formal notice under the EU Treaty terms did not include a trade deal until after the UK had left

The snap General Election of June 2017

Prime Minister May called an election when polls were favourable

Her (Conservative) party’s campaign was lamentable and she ended up with no majority

She was forced to enter an agreement with the main Northern Ireland party (DUP) to hang on to power

Both major parties — Conservative and Labour — campaigned on manifestos promising to respect the EU Referendum result

More than 80% of all votes went to parties committed to honouring the people’s decision in 2016

The two-year notice period (known as “Article 50” of the EU Treaty)

Despite having had a year since the British people voted to leave, the EU wasn’t ready until June 2017

Negotiations started, but in March 2018 the PM removed all power from her Brexit Secretary

On 26 June Parliament voted for the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018, with 29 Mar 2019 as exit day

The PM gave power to unelected pro-EU civil servants, who negotiated a “Withdrawal Agreement” (WA)

The WA was in effect a surrender treaty, and in early 2019 it was rejected by Parliament three times

The vote against it was one of the biggest in Parliamentary history and both Remain and Leave MPs rejected it

A quick note about the non-problem of Northern Ireland

UK Customs, Republic of Ireland Customs, and the EU Parliament’s own Customs expert dismissed this

They did so back in 2016 & 2017, they were prevented from working together by the Irish government and the EU

The Customs teams of both countries said “there is NO need for infrastructure at the border”

Solutions existed then, and they exist now

This whole issue was dreamt up by the EU to keep the UK in the EU

Delay after delay, frustrating Brexit

With her ‘deal’ roundly rejected, the PM sought an extension to the two-year notice period

Instead of leaving the EU on 29 March, the date was put back to 12 April — the legality of this is still questioned

The PM then sought yet another extension, to 31 Oct 2019

As part of this, she agreed to stand down as Prime Minister which she finally did on 24 July 2019

She did so on the back of the Conservatives coming an astonishing fifth in the EU Parliament elections

The Brexit Party of Nigel Farage was the clear winner, and it is now the biggest party in the EU Parliament

The Boris bounce

Boris Johnson, a prominent leader of the Leave campaign in 2016 and former Foreign Secretary, became PM

He was elected by Conservative party members across the country

Faced with finally having to live up to the promises on which they were elected, some MPs started quitting

Since then he has also removed 21 more — they stay in Parliament but are no longer officially Conservative MPs

The Conservative Party received a major ‘bounce’ in the polls since Mr. Johnson became PM

The present-day — and the astonishing events in ‘the Mother of all Parliaments’

In Parliament, the Government of the day normally controls the daily business

Remainer MPs have combined to take control of Parliament, with the Speaker overturning centuries of tradition

The Speaker is an ardent Remainer, he is supposed to be impartial, but sadly he is not

An Act has been passed which dictates that the Government cannot implement the will of the people

The Act receives Royal Assent tomorrow (Monday) and the Government can no longer govern on this issue

The decision on when the UK can leave the EU will have been passed to the EU

The Prime Minister must obey, or face prison

The truth about these dire days for British democracy

Boris Johnson is trying to implement the will of the people, defined in the largest vote for anything in UK history

A majority of MPs in Parliament, despite being elected to do so, are refusing

These MPs have removed power from the Government and are taking it for themselves

Worse, they refuse to submit themselves to a decision by the voters

The PM asked for a General Election on Friday — denied by anti-democratic MPs and parties

He will ask again tomorrow (Monday) — he will again be denied, by anti-democratic MPs and their parties


What is more democratic than asking the people who they want to lead them?

What are the MPs in Parliament afraid of? Losing their seats, perhaps…?

We live in dark days, where MPs who stood on manifestos saying one thing are now doing another. If this involved only a handful, this would not be unusual.

Unfortunately, the country is now facing a majority of Parliamentary MPs deliberately flaunting any semblance of democratic legitimacy. They are doing so on the biggest political issue of our age.

This issue was already decided by the British people in 2016. They may not like it, but it was the decision of the people.

For three years and three months, these MPs have done everything they can to delay and block Brexit. The British people might be a patient lot, but I suspect that this patience is very rapidly running out.

To our overseas readers, I hope this summary was useful. One of the greatest exercises in democracy took place on 23 June 2016. One of the worst exercises in the destruction of democracy is now taking place by a few hundred elected representatives in the UK Parliament.

I leave you, dear overseas reader and home reader, to decide whether a Government which is happy to go to the people for a renewed mandate is acting correctly, or whether to back those who would deny the people their democratic right in circumstances such as these. You may also wish to question why the majority of Parliament wants to give the decision of when and how to leave the EU to the EU itself, instead of simply implementing the decision of the British people to leave.



Graham Charles Lear

What is life without a little controversy in it? Quite boring and sterile would be my answer.