Acton Institute Powerblog

Rev. Richard Turnbull: Parliament’s moral failure on Brexit

UK Parliament has twice denied Prime Minister Boris Johnson a vote on a Brexit deal favored by the majority of British citizens. The latest efforts to delay Brexit have created “a modern moral crisis in one of the world’s foremost democratic nations,” writes Rev. Richard Turnbull, director of the Centre for Enterprise, Markets, and Ethics (CEME) in Oxford.

Turnbull chronicles the head-spinning events that have taken place in Westminster since Parliament’s rare Saturday session in a new article for he Acton Institute’s Religion & Liberty Transatlantic website.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s newly negotiated agreement to leave the European Union by October 31 faced a cliffhanger vote, only to be denied any vote at all. Turnbull, who has followed the issue closely, details how MPs allowed Brexit to drag out for days – or months – longer, as well as how PM Johnson may have outfoxed Remainers on one step of the process.

In the end, Turnbull writes, the democratic decision to implement Brexit has become a moral failure threatening, not just the UK’s ability to forge a freer economy, but the norms of a representative democracy:

It is telling that the same people who seem to wish to deny political liberty are also so obsessed with preserving structures that deny economic liberty. … British citizens want to be free. We just want to have sovereign control over our own laws, governance, and destiny. We want to trade as freely as possible with others. Parliamentary maneuvers prove that MPs have not kept faith with the people who elected them, nor upheld the rule of law.

Set my people free.

Read his full essay here.


(Photo credit: Mark Ramsay. This photo has been cropped. CC BY 2.0.)


Rev. Ben Johnson

Rev. Ben Johnson is the former Executive Editor of the Acton Institute's flagship journal Religion & Liberty.