August 2017: The party’s basic position on Brexit is that reformulating Britain’s relationship with Europe is less urgent than dealing with the glaring deficiencies in our own political and administrative arrangements; we shouldn’t leave the EU until we’re able to say what relationship we do want with neighbouring countries.
One of Local Sovereignty’s core principles is that political power should be exercised as locally as possible. Britain’s membership of the EU, in its current form faq, may not be compatible with that principle. However, we recognise that some questions cannot be settled locally and ceding some elements of sovereignty to higher levels can enhance freedom and security at lower levels.
From that perspective, we consider that Britain’s relationship with the EU is part of a broader question of how power should be distributed between different levels of a mature society. Local Autonomy
The party’s current position on Brexit is, therefore, that we should not commit to any change in our relationship with the EU until we have thoroughly reviewed our internal constitutional arrangements, and have established what kind of supra-national organisation we are willing to be part of, and given the EU an opportunity to implement any reforms needed to meet our requirements.
We also consider that, in the absence of a coherent constitutional settlement which respects the principle of local autonomy and settles doubts over whether the principle of the rule of law is part of our constitution, any irrevocable action by the current administration to take Britain out of the EU, without a clear mandatefaq from the public, could constitute a breach of a common law duty of care and could expose the current administration to possible charges of wilful negligence. It might also allow a future administration to repudiate the decision to trigger Article 50, on the grounds that it is not in accordance with Britain’s own constitutional requirements. (The EU have been alerted to this possibilityletter, but declined to pre-empt it through a referral to the European Court of Justice, on the grounds that it is purely a matter for the UK.)
Whether we should remain in the EU once we have put our own constitution in order is a question we can’t answer at present, since it depends on factors which are still unresolved, in particular the possibility of the EU being satisfactorily reformed. faq
We also recognise that, if the EU does prove to be as incapable of reform as its strongest critics argue, it could be as much a problem for the UK outside as inside, because its continued existence would prevent us establishing constructive relationships with other countries in Europe. In that case, it might be wiser to stay inside it and try to break it apart than to leave it unilaterally.