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Rory Stewart’s warnings over the future of democracy in the West were slapped down by a Conservative MP. Former Treasury minister Simon Clarke attacked the former Tory leadership candidate over his “preaching”. Speaking on BBC Politics Live, Mr Clarke accused Mr Stewart of attempting to “prevent” Brexit for years.
He said: “I’m very fond of Rory personally, he’s obviously an immensely accomplished person but there is a ‘but’ here.
“In the end, we won that election doing what the people asked us to do.
“Something which Rory and some of his colleagues had attempted to prevent.
“It’s that fundamental frustration that shone through.”
Mr Clarke continued: “You cannot preach the virtue of democracy and then do all you can to stymie it in practice.
“We stood on a mandate to deliver the decision of the public in the 2016 referendum, which had been repeatedly stopped by Parliament.
“That is the essence of democratic process in action.
“It is that which Boris Johnson understands, and that is why we have won in parts of the country which would never have given the Conservatives a second look in years gone by.”
The MP added: “That’s not populism, that’s respecting the people’s mandate.
“That is not trite or trivial, it’s really serious to the essence of faith in politics.”
In response, Mr Stewart warned that there needed to be a “place for people who disagree” even with the majority in Britain.
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He told the BBC: “Democracy is about two different things: it’s about representing the majority, but it’s also about pluralism. It’s about accepting that your country has a lot of different people in it.
“A really strong functioning democracy does have a place for people who disagree, does have a place to try and find a centre ground.
“It’s not just about majority rule, it’s a very complicated regiment of trying to respect and bring people together.
“What worried me about this was claiming that there was a simple ‘people’ on the basis of winning a majority vote. You must take into account the others.
“Where we’re going wrong in Britain and elsewhere is that we’re finding it difficult to accommodate other voices and other people in the way that democracy should.”
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