‘The people said ‘Out’, so out we must go!’ - Sleaford and North Hykeham MP’s maiden speech delivers verdict on Brexit debate

Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham. EMN-170130-155442001
Dr Caroline Johnson, MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham. EMN-170130-155442001

New MP for Sleaford and North Hykeham Dr Caroline Johnson has used her maiden speech in the House of Commons to deliver her stance on yesterday’s (Wednesday) debate on triggering Article 50 for Brexit.

Dr Johnson argued that the Government should respect the decision of the public’s EU referendum to exit the European Union.

She said: “There has been much debate recently over whether the referendum was mandatory or advisory, and over the relative authorities of the Government, the legislature and the judiciary.

“I am not a lawyer, but I fail to understand how one can ask the electorate a question and then even consider disregarding the result. The referendum is not advice, but an instruction to us. We asked the people, and the people said ‘Out’, so out we must go.”

Commenting further she told MPs: “The greatest surprise to me was that so many seemed surprised by the result of the EU referendum. I was brought up to believe that a good democracy is ruled by the majority, with protection for minorities.

“As I talk to my constituents, however, I increasingly understand that they perceive that we have rule by a vocal minority elite who are disregarding the views of the majority, and they are angry.

“So many people seem to have been surprised by the Brexit vote, having failed to understand the genuine concerns of the majority. This disconnect with the electorate has been seen not just here, but in the results of the US presidential election, and in the rise of far-right parties throughout Europe. There can be no democracy without an understanding of the views of the majority, and those views must be respected, heard and responded to by Members of this House.”

Using her first speech in an historic debate, Dr Johnson took the opportunity to introduce herself to members. She said that as the constituency was also her home she felt a personal responsibility to nurture it.

As a doctor she said: “The NHS is not perfect; in fact, I doubt any organisation as large and so dependent on human judgment ever could be. However, although there are areas that could be improved, I feel many are too quick to decry the faults in the NHS without adequately recognising the brilliant work done, day in and day out, in helping more people than ever ​before.”

Improving the wellbeing of children was also a key topic. She said: “We must ensure that young people with mental health issues have access to the right treatment; however, as with physical health, we must also focus on prevention. That should include improvements in children’s social care and helping to foster resilience.

“Resilience is very important. I feel we let down children with the ‘all must have prizes’ culture. Young people should understand their strengths and weaknesses by being allowed to compete and take controlled risks; to win, but also to lose; and to learn from that experience, which better prepares them for the challenges they face in life ahead.”