“Since last Friday I have become depressed; I have no energy and I am finding it hard to get through each day. I have not run since Monday and have spent the week ruminating about life the Universe and whether or not my family and I should explore employment options abroad. I simply can’t come to terms with the UK having to leave Europe and the United Kingdom breaking up when Scotland votes to leave. I have started working on an apology for when I meet, and have to speak to, my European colleagues about what happened last Friday. It is now clear that the Brexit vote is nothing short of a calamity for pwMS, the NHS, researchers and for higher education in the UK.”
“People with MS: Several of my patients with MS who are from EU countries and are on expensive DMTs under the NHS have contacted me to ask whether or not Brexit means they will need to return to their countries of origin for treatment. In some of these countries these treatments are simply not available. What do I say to them? This issue raises many more questions around how we manage patients from the EU.”
“The NHS: I have already mentioned that the NHS relies on labour from the EU to keep it going. One of our nurses on our infusion unit who is from France is being urged by her parents to return home. She is simply an amazing nurse and touches the lives of many of our patients with MS every day of the week. What do I tell her? What about the army of other nurses, doctors, allied healthcare professionals and carers from EU countries? What do we tell them; what do we tell their patients with MS?”
“Researchers: A Spanish post-doctoral scientist came into my office on Wednesday morning to tell me that he will probably returning to Spain to take up a Spanish fellowship rather than stay in the UK. He is one of many of the thousands of hard working scientists who will doing the same and returning to mainland Europe because of Brexit. How short sighted have the British public being in making such a rash decision and scaring away bright scientists? What about our large EU collaborations and EU grants? My heart sinks when I think of the consequences Brexit will have for MS and medical research in general.”
“Higher Education: Our University relies on EU students to keep us afloat. About 20% of our fee paying students come from EU countries. Not to mention all the teachers and lecturers from the EU who make our University such an interesting place to work and study. Brexit is simply a disaster for higher education in the UK. I see many Universities being forced to close and see income from higher education plummeting. This will affect the treasury and will massive knock on effects on the wider economy.”
“Can we reverse the Brexit decision? I am told yes and a colleague of mine has penned the letter below that I have sent to my MP. Please feel free to copy it and send it to your own MP. The more momentum the Bremain campaign gets the more likely we are to stay in the EU. Bremain is such an important campaign for people living with MS and other chronic diseases in the UK.”
Mr Chuka Umunna
Parliament’s Responsibility Regarding Brexit
I am writing to ask you to take up with your fellow MPs that Parliament should decide that the UK does not invoke Art 50 TFEU to terminate its membership of the EU.
- The referendum is not legally binding on anyone.
- There is no legally specified majority which forms the basis of any decision.
- A matter of such fundamental constitutional importance should not be decided on a bare majority (by comparison, under company law, the constitution of a company can only be changed with a special majority usually 75%. It cannot be right that the country’s basis position as such should be decided on such a narrow margin).
- It is now the case that Parliament decides fundamental issues of international relations such as acts of war. This is of at least the equivalent significance and thus Parliament must decide.
- The decision to remain in the EU was supported by Scotland, Northern Ireland and London. No other electoral decision making ignores these national and local identities. The constituency system, on the contrary, gives effect to them.
- A YouGov poll has suggested that 75% of voters under the age of 35 voted to remain. It would be a travesty of democracy for such a long term decision to be made contrary to the wishes of those who have most at stake and represent the future of the country.
- As a result, any action to invoke art 50 by the Government in these circumstances is entirely without democratic legitimacy.
Despite the result of the referendum it is plainly against the interests of the country for the UK to leave the EU. The immediate fallout is more than enough evidence.
Since it is probably the single most important issue of our time I am writing to suggest a way forward out of the disaster that is looming. I’m sure you have been deluged on this subject. As a London MP you will recognise the destructive effect it will have on our city. The impending dismembering of the UK, let alone the implications for Europe and the world make it imperative for Parliament to exercise this historic responsibility.