Gordon Brown: Delay Brexit for a year to let '˜Citizens assemblies' decide on issues

The Brexit process should be delayed for a year to allow for the creation of a network of UK-wide 'citizens assemblies' to help resolve the impasse, former prime minister Gordon Brown has told a public meeting in Edinburgh.

Friday, 18th January 2019, 10:25 am
Updated Friday, 18th January 2019, 11:35 am

The ex-Labour leader said the EU would agree to such an extension to allow the public to be consulted.

Mr Brown warned of growing public anger at being cut out of major decisions and the turmoil engulfing Westminster during an address at the Church Hill Theatre in Morningside.

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The former PM said MPs should force the Government to extend Article 50 and then give the public the final say on a renegotiated Brexit deal. Picture: Getty

“Our crisis is now so profound that Parliament cannot solve it on its own,” he said.

“I propose we negotiate with Europe to extend Article 50 for one year not as a delaying tactic but for a purpose; that we agree, and the European Union accepts, a unique democratic innovation – the ­convening of nationwide citizens’ assemblies.

“Stage two would be a consultation in each UK region and nation, sponsored by Parliament’s select committees if not by the government, to review the issues revealed by Brexit including those relating to immigration and sovereignty.

“Stage three would be a Parliamentary review of the results taking the issues back into parliament after listening to the people, followed by the options of a stage four and five if Parliament agrees the situation has changed, to a renegotiation with the EU, based on these developments.

“As someone who spent years in government negotiating with them I feel confident they would accept. And then, if it is established that the situation has changed, give the British people the right to the final say.”

The cross-party event was also addressed by Liberal Democrat MSP Alex Cole-Hamilton who stepped up calls for a “People’s Vote.”