New poll reveals huge public support for parliamentary scrutiny of Brexit negotiating position

A new poll, commissioned by the Open Britain campaign, shows that nearly three quarters of the public think the Government should seek parliamentary approval for their Brexit plans before Article 50 is triggered and the negotiations start. This was supported by a clear majority of Remain and Leave voters and among Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat and UKIP supporters.


The poll comes as a group of senior cross-party MPs – led by Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and Nick Herbert – declare that they will join forces to organise a debate and a vote in Parliament calling for the Government to publish the outline of their negotiating principles before Article 50 is triggered.

Commenting for the Open Britain campaign, Ed Miliband MP, said:

“Leave and Remain voters are united in their belief that the Government must get a mandate for their Brexit negotiating plan from Parliament. The referendum was a mandate for Brexit but there is no mandate from the referendum for a hard, destructive Brexit. This is not about overturning the result but giving Parliament a say in determining the terms of our departure from the EU.”

Commenting for the Open Britain campaign, Nick Clegg MP, said:

“It's absurd that Brexiteers who have spent years condemning the lack of accountability of the EU are now seeking to marginalise Parliament on some of the most important decisions in a generation. The Government should not take decisions that will have massive economic consequences, like leaving the Single Market, without seeking Parliament’s approval.”

Commenting for the Open Britain campaign, Nick Herbert MP, said:

“The public rightly expect us to debate how the best possible Brexit deal will be achieved, so it's deeply ironic that those who campaigned to restore parliamentary sovereignty are now so adamant that parliament should have no say over the biggest change this country will make in a generation.”


The poll is an online poll conducted by Benenson Strategy Group for Open Britain, which surveyed 861 adults in the UK between October 12th and 14th 2016 

When those who answered ‘not sure’ are removed, 73% of people answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘should the Government set out what it is aiming to achieve in negotiations with the EU ahead of the start of formal negotiations so that they can get Parliament and the public’s approval for their plan?’ and only 27% answered no.

There was a clear majority in favour of this among Remain and Leave voters. 69% of Remain voters backed Parliament having a say and only 12% didn’t (19% were not sure). Leave voters also backed the move by 49% to 33% (with 18% not sure).

The majority of supporters from all parties were also in favour. UKIP voters were the most enthusiastic, backing the move by 62% to 20%. Labour voters were 58% to 18% in favour; Liberal Democrats were 59% to 13% in favour; and even Conservative voters backed the move by 49% to 34%.

Former Leader of the Labour Party Ed Miliband, former Liberal Democrat Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, and former Conservative Minister Nick Herbert will in the coming weeks table a motion in the House of Commons to have a backbench debate. They will be joined by MPs from different parties across the House, including Labour Shadow Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, Keir Starmer MP, and Leave supporting Conservative MP Stephen Phillips, in tabling a substantive motion that will be voted on.

The motion will call for the Government to publish a substantive outline of their negotiation plan – the equivalent of a government White Paper – and for this to be agreed by the House of Commons prior to negotiations with the EU commencing.

Just before he became Secretary of State, David Davis wrote about his preference for seeing a ‘pre-negotiation White Paper’ published: