LGBTI campaigners celebrate as British MPs vote to delay Brexit


A People’s Vote might be the most democratic way to stop a hard, no-deal, bad-deal or blind Brexit. | Photo: Gustavo Ferlizi

British MPs have voted to delay Brexit in a move that has LGBTI campaigners celebrating.

Lawmakers voted to give Theresa May the authority to seek a delay to Britain exiting the European Union. She will be seeking an extension under Article 50, the process under which Britain is exiting the EU.

Reports say May is likely to seek the delay at the European Council summit in Brussels next week.

A delay beyond 29 March requires unanimous approval from the 27 European Union member states. If there is a longer delay, the UK may be forced to take part in the European Parliament elections in May.

LGBTI campaigners believe this reprieve is what is needed to get a stronger deal or even a People’s Vote.

The government dramatically decided to rule out a no-deal withdrawal from the EU yesterday.

MPs also voted on other amendments today. One was to give a cross-party group of MPs control of Brexit, which failed. The other was on whether to back a second referendum.

Politicians overwhelmingly voted against a second referendum.

85 MPs voted in favor of the amendment, while 334 voted against it.

Why LGBTI campaigners don’t want Brexit

Some LGBTI campaigners believe Brexit will drastically negatively impact LGBTI rights in Britain today and in the years to come.

Free movement and rights covering trans people, employment, asylum will all be impacted. 

If Britain loses the European Charter of Fundamental Rights, then LGBTI people will not be protected, a Gay Star News report found.

Authors of the report Jonathan Cooper and Kathryn Breitner reacted to the news.

Cooper, a human rights barrister, told Gay Star News: ‘Brexit has been handled so incompetently from the start. This delay was inevitable.

‘Theresa May has behaved like Violet Elizabeth from the Just William stories. She’s bossy, stubborn, petulant and comes across as smug and self-indulged.

‘Her mission and purpose in life is to make sure that Boris (whose behaviour is uncannily like William’s) and his gang of Outlaws won’t get the better of her. She doesn’t listen and insists on getting her way.

‘And whilst Boris may have grudging respect for Theresa, as William did for Violet Elizabeth, she is a thoroughly unpleasant child.

‘Least damage possible to the LGBT community’

‘With this delay we can stop living in the childish world of Just William characters and get on with ensuring that if Brexit is to happen it does the least damage possible to the LGBT community.

‘First up, we need to make sure the EU Charter with its express protection from discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation becomes embedded in UK law.

‘Next, we need to make sure that LGBT people from the EU living in the UK are properly protected and we need easy access to the EU, not just for our holidays but for work too.

‘Finally, we need to make sure leaving the EU is what we all really want to do.’

Breitner, the Director of LGBT+ for a People’s Vote, said: ‘MPs should make sure that any extension of the Article 50 deadline is used to deliver the clarity about Brexit that has been missing from the last two-and-a-half years of debate.

‘Only when the real costs of Brexit and new facts about its broken promises are properly examined, will the case to give the public a real say and a new vote be proven.

‘It’s not fair to force a deeply flawed Brexit on Britain. It’s only reasonable to put this to the people.’

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