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Tuesday, October 18, 2016

When free speech is treason.

The arguments for and against Brexit have been well-rehearsed and in particular there are strong views on what should happen next.

The Liberal Democrats have argued that the UK Parliament should debate our negotiating position and that the final deal should be subject to a referendum so that the public can accept or reject it.

Nobody though has tried to argue that all debate should be shut down completely with severe penalties for those of us amongst the 48% who want to continue to argue the case to remain in the EU - until now.

The Independent reports that a Guildford Tory Councillor has been suspended after starting a Parliamentary petition calling for anyone supporting EU membership to be charged with treason:

Christian Holliday, a councillor in Guildford, Surrey, placed a petition on Parliament’s website demanding that the 1848 Treason Felony Act be updated to include “the following offences”.

They would be: “To imagine, devise, promote, work, or encourage others, to support UK becoming a member of the European Union.

The petition continues: “It is becoming clear that many politicians and others are unwilling to accept the democratic decision of the British people to leave the EU.

“Brexit must not be put at risk in the years and decades ahead. For this reason, we the undersigned request that the Treason Felony Act be amended as set out in this petition. (These provisions to become law the day the United Kingdom leaves the EU).”

I am surprised that he did not add 'adherence to a foreign Pope' to the list as per the reformation. As Liberal Democrat patron of the Vote Leave Watch campaign, Tom Brake said: “We knew Theresa May was intent on taking Britain back to the 1950s, but it's still a surprise to see a Tory councillor advocating a policy straight out of the 1550s.

“Let me point out gently to Cllr Holliday that 16.1 million people voted to remain in the EU - and the courts are busy enough as it is without trying to prosecute all of them for treason."

What is astonishing is that this petition has attracted nearly 1200 signatures.
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