The Brexit Party published its​“Contract with the People” on 22November. 

It is available to read in full here: https://​www​.the​brex​it​par​ty​.org…

Here are some thoughts on what it contains, and how Christians can respond in seats where they are standing: 

  1. It’s not a manifesto. As the party puts it,​“The old mainstream parties have made​‘manifesto’ a dirty word. Everybody knows that a manifesto is little more than a set of vague promises that its authors have no intention of keeping.” Unlike the larger parties, where there must at least be a notional roadmap for being the party of Government, the Brexit party do not expect to be so – indeed they are not standing in hundreds of Conservative seats. Instead, this contract” is a much shorter document, with pledges in different areas that the party’s MPs (if elected) would work towards. This means there’s less in here on some issues where Christians have historically been interested, but this provides you with an opportunity to ask your Brexit party candidates for their views. 

  2. It’s about Brexit. The clue, as they say, is in the name. The Brexit party want what they call a clean break” Brexit. As they put it:​“There will be no extended​‘transition period’, no more years of wrangling with Brussels, no further entanglement with the EU’s controlling political institutions.” Naturally, this will divide opinion – some will see this as the only option to achieve Brexit, while others believe such a plan will be disastrous, particularly for the most vulnerable communities. Read our policy briefing on where the parties stand on Brexit here. Regardless, given the name of their party, it is clear that Brexit party candidates want and expect to be asked about their Brexit policy – so do so when you get the chance. 

  3. It wants to reform the constitution. We’ve long had calls from parties such as the Liberal Democrats and the Greens for constitutional reform. However, since the EU referendum, this has been a topic of conversation among pro-Brexit figures too. Amongst Brexit party proposals are the abolition of the House of Lords, a more proportional voting system, a system of confirmations for Supreme Court judges, and an oath for civil servants to be impartial. And while it will probably not be the Brexit party that becomes the party of Government, we are in for more debates of this sort on constitutional reform. So it’s important for us as Christians to start thinking about what kind of constitutional change we want to see.

  4. It wants more to be decided by referendum. The Brexit party pledges to, introduce Citizens’ Initiatives to allow people to call referendums, subject to a 5m threshold of registered voter signatures and time limitations on repeat votes.” However, as the only parliamentary e-petition to go above 5 million signatures called for the revocation of Article 50, this introduction of direct democracy may not go the way which advocates of Brexit expect. Nonetheless, as with the above point on constitutional reform, we will need to do some thinking about what Christian political engagement looks like with a new or reforming political system.

  5. It will make cuts to certain projects. Besides a refusal to pay into certain EU projects, the Brexit party argues for cuts in other areas to support spending elsewhere. For example, it plans to scrap the HS2 rail project, which has divided opinion and raised concerns over cost.

    More controversially perhaps, the party also proposes to Save 50% of the foreign aid budget”, by redirecting it to other projects. It’s worth noting that many Christian organisations working overseas in development are keen supporters of the foreign aid budget – read a briefing from World Vision, for example, about its importance here. It will be worth asking Brexit party candidates how the UK will remain a leader in helping those in need around the world following this redirection of funds.