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The Democratic Duty to Oppose Brexit

Weale, A; (2017) The Democratic Duty to Oppose Brexit. The Political Quarterly , 88 (2) pp. 170-181. 10.1111/1467-923X.12338. Green open access

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Abstract

What should be the position of democrats in response to the Brexit referendum? Many urge a duty to accept the result. This article argues the contrary. If someone is a UK citizen, has a belief that leaving the European Union will be damaging to the common good of the UK and is a convinced democrat, then that person has a duty to oppose Brexit. Neither of the two principal reasons for accepting the result—a claim of popular sovereignty or of parliamentary sovereignty—imply a duty not to continue to oppose. Arguments from political equality for simple majority rule do not apply when the alternatives are ill defined. More generally, popular sovereignty presupposes and does not replace constitutional democracy, and in a parliamentary democracy there is always a continuing right to oppose.

Type: Article
Title: The Democratic Duty to Oppose Brexit
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1111/1467-923X.12338
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-923X.12338
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher's terms and conditions.
Keywords: Brexit, referendum, popular sovereignty, constitutional government, political obligation, duty to oppose
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1531145
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