Votes for Life – The Elections Act

Votes for Life – The Elections Act

Since Bremain in Spain’s inception, regaining our right to vote in UK elections has always been a high priority. After years of campaigning, the 15-year rule has now been overturned and our right to vote in UK elections has been re-established, regardless of where we live.

However, we still have a long road to travel to ensure relevant processes and procedures are in place to make voting in UK elections a reality. We must keep up the pressure on government to follow through on their commitments in a timely fashion, and before the next general election.

Bremain will also be looking at further ways to make our voting contribution more meaningful, such as a campaign for overseas constituencies/MPs for UK nationals abroad.

Check back here regularly for all the latest news updates, as and when they happen.

New arrangements for voting by post and by proxy come into immediate effect as of today. Those already registered to vote in UK elections can now apply online to vote either by post or by proxy.

Once your form has been downloaded and completed, it is then sent off to the Electoral Registration office for England, Scotland or Wales or for Northern Ireland 

If you are living in the UK, you can download the application forms here

For those living abroad, apply online here

If you have not exceeded 15 years abroad, then you can also use the above link to register/re-register to vote. Those that have exceeded the 15 year period should be able to register to vote in January 2024 when the secondary legislation is finalised.

Progress has now been made regarding the secondary legislation required to further the restoration of our overseas voting rights.

On 23 October, the government published the Statutory Instrument on overseas voting regulations. These now require the approval of parliament before being signed into law, and will be considered by both House of Commons and House of Lords committees. The process usually takes no more than 8 weeks, so is expected to be finalised by early January 2024.

The next step will then be registration for disenfranchised overseas voters, likely to start before the end of January, as scheduled.

Following our latest discussion with the Head of Secondary Legislation, Registration & Franchise Division, at the Department for Levelling Up Housing and Communities, we are pleased to be able to confirm the following:

  • The department is still on track to progress the necessary secondary legislation this Autumn
  • The legislation will be laid & debated with the intention that the necessary changes to overseas voting rights come into force in January
  • Voters who are currently eligible can continue to register as usual, and from January onwards
  • Newly eligible voters – that were previously denied a vote under the 15-year rule – will be able to apply to register from January onwards

Votes for Life – Overseas Electorate Roundtable

On 21 June 2023, Bremain Chair, Sue Wilson, attended a meeting with Baroness Scott of Bybrook, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC). The online meeting was also attended by officials of the DLUHC Elections Directorate, who Sue had met with earlier this year.

Speaking on behalf of the disenfranchised overseas electorate were representatives from a variety of campaign organisations, including Conservatives Abroad, LibDems Abroad, Labour International and British in Europe.

Secondary legislation

Before parliament can approve the new legislation, there will be a consultation with the Electoral Commission, who will provide further scrutiny of the plans and processes. The expectation remains that the secondary legislation will come into force in January 2024, enabling the registration process to begin.

Registration process

Changes are being made to:

  • ID verification process
  • Franchise criteria
  • Application forms

Each change is aimed at making the process easier and quicker for existing and new overseas voters, and to maintaining the integrity of the electoral process. These changes will apply to all UK parliamentary elections, including any bi-elections.

Renewals & Absentees

When re-registering to vote (every 3 years in future, rather than every year as at present), the process will allow for concurrent re-registration for proxy or postal voting. A reminder will be issued in advance to those already on the electoral register, and a new “light-touch” renewal declaration will speed up the process.

A new process for postal/proxy voting applications will be available online. For postal voting, pre-paid “international business response” envelopes will be supplied by Royal Mail – these envelopes are suitable for all international use and widely recognised abroad.

Following the meeting, Sue said, “it was reassuring to learn that the plans outlined to me in March are progressing well, and the previously quoted timescales still stand. It was a pleasure to meet Baroness Scott and her team who are clearly dedicated, well informed, and efficient. It is clear that all concerns raised by Bremain, and other campaign groups, have been listened to and acted upon. Restoration of our democratic votes rights is now well under way.”

A further roundtable meeting will be held in the Autumn.

For further information, read the earlier updates or visit the government website: Overseas electors: Delivering ‘votes for life’ for British expatriates





On 23 March 2023, Bremain Chair Sue Wilson attended a meeting at the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities (DLUHC) to discuss the restoration of full democratic voting rights to Britons living abroad.

The meeting was with officials from Elections Directorate at the DLUHC in Westminster.

The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the next steps, the process and to establish the timescale. This is what we learned ……….

Secondary legislation

In order to restore full voting rights following the passing of the Elections Act by Parliament, secondary legislation will be necessary.

This will take place in the Autumn session of parliament 2023 with the intention of delivering ‘votes for life’ ahead of the next General Election. The secondary legislation to deliver the overseas electors change is expected to be made and come into force in January 2024.

Improvements to the registration process

To facilitate voting arrangements, the process of registration will be made simpler, and the frequency of re-registration will be extended from 1 year to (up to) 3 years. An online registration service will be complemented by the introduction of an online absent vote (postal or proxy) application process.

As soon as the changes come into force, newly enfranchised electors will be able to apply to register to vote. We will then be encouraging our members to act quickly, rather than wait until an election is announced.

The franchise of eligible voters will be extended to include all of the following British citizens, regardless of how long they have been living abroad:

  • those previously registered to vote in the UK
  • those previously resident in the UK

In addition, those that left the UK before they were old enough to register to vote will no longer have to rely on the registration status of their parents/guardians.


The verification process

The process will require the verification of both personal identity and a previous UK address.

Regarding identity verification, this could be established, as now, via a check of applicants’ details (including NI number) against DWP records, or if that is not possible, via documentary evidence, such as a UK passport. Failing that, an attestation (a declaration that certain facts are true) from a suitably qualified elector (not a close family member) would be acceptable.

Re address verification, if it is not possible for an Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) to verify an address by a register check, other options will be available, such as documentary evidence from a bank, building society, utility company, tax office or a variety of other organisations. A full list is available online (see below). Failing that, an attestation – as with ID verification – would be acceptable.

Following the meeting, Sue said, “I came away from the meeting impressed with the level of detail provided, the comprehensive nature of the planning and preparation, and the understanding of the issues we face as overseas voters. I was impressed with the knowledge and abilities of the people I met and with their willingness to engage with us and to listen to our concerns. Now, bring on the next election, but not before next spring, please!”

For further information, go to the government website: Overseas electors: Delivering ‘votes for life’ for British expatriates


The Elections Act has received Royal Assent and has now become law. It will allow British citizens abroad to vote in UK elections, by removing the 15-year limit. It will also extend the annual re-registration requirements to just once every three years.

In response to an enquiry regarding overseas voters’ measures in the Elections Act, the Electoral Commission said, “The Government has not yet made the legislation necessary to bring these changes into force, and we do not expect them to come into force before summer 2023. More detail on the implementation of these measures is expected to come from the government in the coming months.”

You can read the Government’s announcement re the passing of the Elections Act here

You can read an article written by Bremain Chair, Sue Wilson, on the passing of the Elections Act here

Our campaign for the restoration of our voting rights, and the scrapping of the arbitrary 15-year rule, moved a little closer to fruition this month. The controversial Elections Bill, which includes the government’s manifesto promise to restore our voting privileges, has made some progress through parliament. On 7 September, the bill passed the Second Reading in the House of Commons.  

On 22 September, the Committee stage began, and is scheduled to continue on 19 October. You can watch the latest proceedings on Parliament TV here

In tandem with the passage of the bill through the Commons, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) started its Elections Bill Inquiry. Many campaign groups submitted evidence to the committee, Bremain included. 

We asked our members why their vote was important to them and used many of your testimonies in our report. Many thanks to all those that contributed. You can read about our presentation of evidence to the committee here, in an article by our Chair, Sue Wilson.  To read our evidence report in full, click here 

The date for the second reading of the Elections Bill has been announced as 7 September, at 12.40 BST.

The second reading is the first opportunity for MPs to debate the general principles of the Bill. At the end of the debate, MPs will vote on whether they think the Bill should proceed to the next stage – the Committee Stage.

You can follow the progress of the Bill here

You can watch the debate live on Parliament TV, or watch a recording after the event here

On 26 July, the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) announced a new enquiry into the controversial Elections Bill.

The bill includes government plans to introduce voter ID at polling stations, the aim being to “protect the integrity of elections”. However, many campaigners have argued that election fraud is extremely rare, and the bill is a solution to a problem that does not exist.

Committee Chair William Wragg said:


“These proposals make significant changes to the implementation of and potentially participation in elections. It’s natural that they are properly interrogated and claims by the Government that the plans would protect our democracy are tested before implementation. Although few would argue against shoring-up our electoral system in principle, it’s critical to ensure that it is done correctly, that it is fair, and that it is necessary to do so.”

Of course, the bill also includes the long-awaited restoration of democratic voting rights for Britons living abroad, affected by the arbitrary 15-year rule. We are encouraging our members to write to their MPs with their views on the Elections Bill – good and bad – and we will be presenting evidence to the committee in due course.

You can read more about the proposed enquiry here

You can read more about PACAC here

If you wish to submit evidence to the committee, you can do so here. The deadline is 31 August 2021.

Veteran campaigner, Harry Shindler OBE, has been fighting for the restoration of our democratic voting rights for 25 years. 
On 17th July 2021, he celebrated his 100th birthday. Bremain could not let this occasion pass un-noticed, so we asked our members and other campaign groups to join us in sharing our good wishes.

Bremain members contributed to our birthday book. You can view the book & read our members’ comments here

Campaign groups across the UK & the EU contributed to our dedicated video, which you can view here

We wish Harry a very happy birthday, & many more to come.

On 5 July 2021, the government bill set to restore our democratic voting rights was finally brought before parliament. A government press release stated that the new legislation was designed “to strengthen the integrity of UK elections and protect our democracy”, and included this aim:

“To increase participation in our democracy, the Bill will deliver the longstanding commitment to remove the arbitrary 15 year limit on overseas electors voting in UK Parliamentary general elections.”

The Elections Bill is proving controversial, though not because of the scrapping of the 15-year voting rule. The cause for concern is the planned introduction of voter ID, which threatens to disenfranchise many further voters, and is regarded by many as undemocratic and unnecessary.

Bremain will be following the passage of the new bill with great interest, and will provide regular updates.

More information on the Elections Bill is available on the official government website here.

You can also access updates on the Parliament website here, including the latest government publications and details of the bill’s progress. The government describe the bill thus:


“A Bill to make provision about the administration and conduct of elections, including provision designed to strengthen the integrity of the electoral process; about overseas electors; about voting and candidacy rights of EU citizens; about the designation of a strategy and policy statement for the Electoral Commission; about the membership of the Speaker’s Committee; about the Electoral Commission’s functions in relation to criminal proceedings; about financial information to be provided by a political party on applying for registration; for preventing a person being registered as a political party and being a recognised non-party campaigner at the same time; about regulation of expenditure for political purposes; about disqualification of offenders for holding elective offices; about information to be included in electronic campaigning material; and for connected purposes.”
For further information:

Read the Elections Bill in full here 

Read the Explanatory Notes here 

Read the Elections Bill Impact Assessment here

The government officially announced today that British citizens who have moved abroad will be given ‘votes for life’ as the UK Government scraps the arbitrary 15-year limit on the voting rights. All British citizens who are living overseas who have been previously registered or previously resident in the UK will be able to vote in UK Parliamentary General Elections. In addition, the new rules will mean overseas electors can stay registered for longer requiring them to renew their registration details once every three years, rather than annually.

Overseas electors will also be able to reapply for a postal vote or refresh their proxy vote at the same time as renewing their voter registration, streamlining the process and helping to ensure they have appropriate voting arrangements in place ahead of an election. These changes, which will form part of the Elections Bill will come into effect in time for the next scheduled General Election in 2024.

Since the 2010 General Election and each subsequent election, the Conservative party have pledged to repeal the fifteen year rule and provision was made in this year’s Budget in March.

In yesterday’s Queen’s Speech, as part of the Electoral Integrity Bill, the commitment to remove the fifteen year rule was announced.

After months of inactivity, it seems the British government’s manifesto commitment – to scrap the 15-year rule – is finally taking a step forward.

The Electoral Integrity Bill – which includes the restoration of the democratic voting rights of millions of Brits abroad – will form part of this spring’s Queen’s Speech.

There was further good news in the Budget yesterday. If you look closely at the small print on page 48, you will find reference to additional funds set aside expressly for the purpose of securing our #VotesForLife 

2.41 Overseas Electors The government is providing an additional £2.5 million to remove
the limit preventing British citizens who live overseas from voting after 15 years.

You can read an article by Sue Wilson about the bill in the Yorkshire Bylines here

Bremainers Ask …… Gina Miller

Bremainers Ask …… Gina Miller

Gina Miller is a dynamic businesswoman, activist and now, a UK political party leader. In 2012, Gina co-founded the True and Fair campaign, and has campaigned on issues as diverse as modern-day slavery, domestic violence, special needs, inequality, social justice, and online abuse.

She is probably best known for taking the Government to the Supreme Court for attempting to implement Brexit without Parliamentary approval and for successfully challenging the government over the prorogation of Parliament in 2019. She has since launched the True & Fair party and will stand for Parliament in the forthcoming election.

Tracy Rolfe : What do you think will be the path and timescale to rejoining the EU?

Under EU law, the UK is now a third country, so it would have to reapply and undergo the whole accession procedure from scratch, under Article 49 of the Treaty of European Union.

Art. 49 states that “any European State” which respects the common EU values and is “committed to promoting them may apply to become a member of the union”. These values include “human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law”. In other words, even though our present Government is lurching to the right, we would still qualify.

On average, it has taken approximately nine years for recent members to join, from submitting a membership application to signing an accession treaty, for example Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, and Lithuania. But our having been members for 40 years would be a huge advantage over these countries. The fact that we have not diverged significantly from EU rules and regulations post Brexit is also beneficial. New border checks on EU imports have been delayed for a fifth time until January 2024, and the requirement for UK manufactured goods to have a UKCA instead of a EUCA mark from 2025 has been scrapped.

In other areas we are actively aligning with the EU: Horizon; aligning with the EU timeline for phasing out petrol and diesel cars; new food standards; and recoupling our electricity trading with the EU.

The question is purely a political one. It took Sweden and Finland only three years from application to the signing of an accession treaty. I see no reason why this time frame is not feasible for the UK, especially as we now have Poland and Ukraine as supporters of us rejoining.


Keith Glazzard : Keir Starmer has identified areas of common interest as the basis of regular consultation between the UK and EU. If Labour wins the next election, do you see any way of extending that idea towards eventual EU membership?

It is very hard to understand Labour’s strategy. The idea that a Labour Government would be able to cherry-pick is for the birds. The integrity of the single market is paramount to the EU. If we were to join the single market, what would be the EU’s incentive to offer us more? We would be in the position of having no say, no input, no vote on any committees, rules, or the future direction of travel. I am not a supporter of this option – especially after speaking to the EFTA members.

If Starmer’s starting point is to utilise the renegotiation clauses in the Trade and Cooperation Agreement that accompanies the Withdrawal Treaty, that would allow sector-by-sector solutions that would be hugely beneficial to the UK and could be a very pragmatic path to rejoining. Bearing in mind the polls are already consistently at between 58% – 63% for rejoin, I’m still unclear what Starmer is waiting for?


David Eldridge : Prior to the last election, you set up a website and conducted a poll encouraging tactical voting against the Conservatives. This time you have set up the True and Fair Party, presumably with the aim of standing against Labour and Conservative and therefore discouraging tactical voting. Please can you explain this change of strategy?

In 2017 when I set up Best for Britain, tactical voting was the right strategy to dent what was looking like a 100-seat majority for the Tories. It also helped our success that there were no other competing or misleading tactical voting sites.

In 2019, the Remain United tactical voting website was aimed at helping people to elect remain supporting, centrist MPs. Unfortunately, the Corbyn effect meant that good people like Monica Harding, Dominic Grieves, Luciana Berger and David Gauke, who we were supporting, all lost their seats. It also did not help that there were several other tactical voting websites that were masquerading as independent but were not.

Since 1998, I and others have been campaigning for reforms to strengthen our machinery of government, to replace our naive ‘good chap’ model of government with codified, legal requirements for those we elect and pay. To bring in wide-ranging but pragmatic constitutional and electoral reforms to modernise our democracy, improve governance, and combat the corruption that has earned us the nickname ‘Londongrad.’

These have been very difficult messages to get across to the electorate. But, after COVID, partygate and the corruption and disgraceful behaviour we have seen in Parliament in recent years, the public can see how broken and rotten our system is. People are thinking ‘they are all the same’ and feeling politically homeless. That the system is rigged with no redress, no matter how scandalously politicians behave. The sentiment of ‘them and us’ is becoming widespread, resulting in the apathy that we have already seen in recent by-elections, leading to very worrying low voter turnout figures. It is to the people who are saying “none of the above”, who abhor the status quo, that the True & Fair Party is offering a new choice.


Steve Wilson : Assuming you succeed in becoming MP for Epsom and Ewell, what will be your first order of business?

The national policies I would be relentlessly vocal about are enshrining the prerogative [powers in law (we cannot have a Prime Minister with largely unfettered powers); proportional representation; and rejoining the EU. Locally, a completely new vision for high streets and city centres: bringing health, well-being and community hubs into the High Street.

Helen Johnston : A new petition calling for a general election is gaining enormous support. What are the pros and cons of an early versus a later election date and do you think the timing would make a difference to the scale of the Conservative loss?

There are so many rumours and theories going around that it’s very difficult to tell what will happen.

Now that the Conservatives have repealed the Fixed Term Act, Sunak can call an election whenever he feels inclined to do so. The current Parliament first sat on 17 December 2019 and will automatically dissolve on 17 December 2024, with polling day expected to take place 25 days later (excluding bank holidays and weekends).

There are many factors Sunak will be weighing up, including:

Inflation is 6.7% today and is likely to carry on decreasing. The Bank of England expects inflation to fall to around 5% by the end of 2023, then to keep on falling during 2024 and reach its 2% target in the first half of 2025. The Government will claim it is their success, though this is largely not true. But there are still upside risks to the inflation outlook, likely reflecting recent stickiness in core inflation, meaning people will still be feeling it in their pockets.

The combination of falling inflation, and a budget with tax cuts and other fiscal bribes, could see Sunak call an election in May, maybe rolled up with the local May elections as they have done in the past. This has these huge political advantages for the Tories:

It stops the fractional infighting (‘lancing the boil’ as senior Tories have relayed to me) and allows them to rebuild their party in opposition sooner rather than later.
Local elections in May are expected to result in the Conservatives losing hundreds of seats and councils, and the London mayoral elections, which would be disastrous.
Sunak would avoid being replaced (several people are circling to take over – Braverman, Farage, Badenoch, Mordaunt – even Truss!) ahead of a late general election.
It would stop the haemorrhaging of supporters and members to the Reform Party.
I’m told another phrase being used by the Tories is ‘damage limitation’. They expect to limit losses, or at best scrape through, if they go early, do a pact with Reform UK (looking at the last two by-elections such a pact would have resulted in the Conservatives holding on to both Tamworth and Mid-Bedfordshire) and don’t allow Labour time to spell out their policies.
The other view is that the election will be called at the end of the short Parliamentary sitting next September, with the election in late Autumn. As you will recall at all the Party conferences this year, the repeated message was these were the last conferences before the next General Election. The financial assessments are that the worldwide picture will be better in autumn 2024. If America reduces interest rates, it’s likely Europe and Britain will follow, so an autumn 2024 election is economically more attractive.

This timing also has the advantage of being after a long parliamentary summer recess, when there is no real scrutiny and people are less politically engaged over summer, and a low turnout, which would help the Tories.

The disadvantages are that migrants’ Channel crossings are likely to rise over the summer, while the mortgage crisis may deepen as more people face the end of their current fixed rates around summer.


Tony Isaac : Is there any way that the Conservatives could turn things around and win the next election?

See my answer above but, in essence, yes. The maths here is important. For Labour to have even a one seat majority, they need to win 124 seats. For a stable majority of 30 they need to win 153 seats. If the by-election swings are not replicated at the general election (historically the case), there is no Tory/Reform UK pact, Labour and LibDems don’t have an agreement in certain crucial seats, Labour do not win back the seats they need in Scotland, and voter apathy remains at the levels our True & Fair polling is finding (with turnout in the low to mid 30% range), the Tories could hold on to power. Every seat matters.


Lisa Burton : Previously you have spoken about MPs having contracts of employment, which makes sense and would allow a lot more accountability. Do you think any of the other parties would consider backing it?

The simple answer is no. The main three parties would not back many of the policies, the political reforms, that we at True & Fair believe are essential to strengthening our democracy and making it fairer. These include no second jobs  including media shows), reforming the House of Lords to be a purely secondary chamber providing oversight, electoral reforms such as compulsory voting, reforms to political advertising and media ownership. They are even resistant to putting the Nolan Principles onto a legal footing. This was a major factor in my decision not to stand for Labour or the LibDems.


Valerie Chaplin : We are all working together to encourage more people to join the Rejoin movements and are struggling to engage the younger generation, especially as Brexit and the loss of freedom of movement, Erasmus etc. affects them the most. How do we resolve this?

Our experience is that young people are very exercised about Brexit and the damage being done to their options, opportunities, and security. If you strip out the over-45s from rejoin polls, over 70% of people under 45 want to rejoin. It is an utter betrayal of the younger generations by the main parties that they talk about rejoining being for future generations. How much more damage do they need to see? How many young people will they sacrifice with their cowardly leadership?

We engage with more young people than many other parties do, and they tell us they don’t feel anyone cares about them, that they have no voice, no representation. We have to find a different narrative, to emotionally engage with them, find different channels of communication. It was very evident at the recent National Rejoin March in London that our movement must pursue other ways of reaching young people. A very practical strategy is to get young people to speak to other young people.

If you, your family or your friends live in the Epsom, Ewell and Leatherhead constituency, and would like to help Gina out with her campaign, she would welcome your support on the ground. You can make contact with Gina’s team via her website – just click on the Volunteer button.

Next month

Annette Dittert is a German author, filmmaker, correspondent, and journalist and regular commentator on British politics. She has worked for ARD German TV since 2001, as a war correspondent in Poland, a senior correspondent in New York, and since 2008 as bureau chief in London. In 2019, Annette was awarded the title of “political journalist of the year” for her reporting on Brexit.

If you wish to submit a question for consideration, please send your question(s) to: no later than Wednesday 8 November.

Bremainers Ask ……… Dominic Grieve KC

Bremainers Ask ……… Dominic Grieve KC

Dominic Grieve was Attorney General (2010-2014), served as Shadow Home Secretary and was MP for Beaconsfield (1997-2019), as well as chairing Parliament’s Intelligence and Security Committee.

He is also president of the Franco-British Society, holder of the Legion of Honour award and a visiting professor in Law, Politics and Human Rights at Goldsmiths University London. He was a prominent Remainer, proposed many Brexit amendments and called for a second referendum.

For his work on civil liberties and the rule of law, Grieve was recognised with two awards: Parliamentarian of the Year in 2005 and in 2014 he received a Lifetime Achievement award from Liberty. He now serves as Vice President of European Movement UK.

Ruth Woodhouse : How can a cross-party approach to rebuilding ties with the EU be achieved when there is such extreme polarisation within politics today?

There is no doubt that the process by which we joined the EEC in the 1970s was enabled by the development of a significant cross-party consensus that it was in our national interest to do so. But such a consensus can emerge again driven by the realities of our geo-political position in Europe. As the heat generated by Brexit cools, there are already signs of greater realism in the two main parties on this issue. This emphasises for me that rebuilding ties with the EU can be done a stage at a time.

Michael Soffe : As an ex-Attorney general – do you believe that we will ever see a legal process that will end in some “Leave” MPs being found guilty of criminal charges in some way?

No, there will be no such criminal process and nor is one desirable. Self-deception and misleading others as a consequence is not a crime, even if it is an undesirable aspect of democratic politics and history will judge some politicians very harshly over their behaviour. But to progress we cannot spend our time seeking some form of retribution on those who have landed us in this mess. We need to persuade them to our way of thinking.

Steven Wilson : Looking back on the earlier parliamentary battles over Brexit, is there anything you wish you, or others, had done differently? 

I think I can really only speak for myself on the matter. The principal criticism directed at me and others in the Conservative Party who argued for a second referendum is that it contributed to making Theresa May’s “soft Brexit” impossible and the same criticism is also made with more force against Labour. But Labour were never going to take responsibility in Opposition for helping carry out Brexit in any form and I took the view that the Brexit Theresa May wanted was both a poor outcome in itself, but also wholly unachievable in view of the attitude of the “Hard Brexiters” in the Conservative Party. So I don’t think my approach made any difference although I did worry about it at the time. If Labour had swung behind a second referendum, then it was possible we could have had one. But it will always be unclear if the result would have reversed that of the first.

Anon :Can the Conservative Party ever be rescued from the far-right extremists, and if so, how, and by whom?

It can be rescued and will doubtless be at some point in the future when the right wing that has high-jacked it is wholly discredited.  But this will not necessarily follow defeat at the next election, as history shows that parties fail initially to learn lessons from defeats and often become more illogical and extreme in the short term, helped by the fact that any new leader (and Sunak will not survive defeat) will be picked ultimately by the members who are no longer representative of Conservative voters at all.

Dominic Grieve

Valerie Chaplin : Why are our politicians so reluctant to talk about Brexit and rejoining the EU when the public have demonstrably changed their minds?

The public has clearly concluded that Brexit has not worked out as they hoped, but that is a different thing from saying they want to go back in. Returning will not be on the same terms we enjoyed when we left and will be a complex negotiation. This is why politicians avoid the issue. As time passes, however, it will become unavoidable, as it becomes obvious that there is no substitute to our building a much closer relationship with the EU.

Helen Johnston : As a lawyer with a long-standing interest in human rights, how do you feel about recent reports that members of the Government are pushing for the UK to leave the ECHR?

It troubles me very much that our adherence to the ECHR is now in question with members of the Government. The ECHR may not be perfect and its interpretation by the European Court of Human Rights at times not what some would wish. But it is one of the great successes of UK soft power in raising human rights standards in Europe and has been beneficial to us as well. Leaving would mean leaving the Council of Europe, wrecking our Trade and Co-operation Agreement with the EU and having to exit the Horizon programme, because shared adherence to the ECHR underpins data sharing. It is also irreconcilable with the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement that requires us to adhere to it. I also cannot see the slightest advantage to our doing this. It is not going to make it any easier to return illegal migrants, as the main problem is that their countries of origin will often not co-operate to take them back.

Lisa Burton : Do you think we may see a split in the Conservative Party if they lose the next general election?

The Conservative Party may split, but that depends on what happens after the election and who becomes leader. It is unclear how many Conservative MPs will remain and what their views are, and this will be critical to whether or not they can find a common policy approach round which to rally.

David Eldridge : What should Parliament have done differently to achieve the aim of stopping the hard Brexit we ultimately got?

I have in part tried to answer this in question 3 above. I think a hard Brexit was inevitable. Theresa May ruled out the softest of Brexits and Labour then refused to support her less soft version, and she did not have the majority to carry it in the face of ERG Conservative rebels. So, all forms of Brexit were doomed to be unachievable until Johnson won his large majority through Corbyn’s folly at failing to appreciate his own unelectability, helping to deliver the hard Brexit Johnson and his supporters wanted.

Coming next month

We are delighted to announce that Gina Miller has agreed to feature in our Bremainers Ask in October. 

Gina is probably best known for taking the government to the Supreme Court for attempting to implement Brexit without parliamentary approval and for successfully challenging the government over the prorogation of parliament in 2019. She has since launched the True and Fair Party and will stand for parliament in the forthcoming election.

If you would like to submit a question for consideration, please email us no later than Sunday 8 October at