Your correspondents, Will Podmore, Andrew Smith and Michael McGough (Letters, April 11), make too many points to answer in one letter. So I will not try, but just make one or two comments. First, it would help if it was recognised that our EU membership or not is a complex issue, with many genuine pros and cons, which were mostly buried by hyperbole on both sides in the campaign. A small majority, on a simplistic proposition with no plan for what would actually follow, cannot constitute the “will of the people”, a binding mandate for a so-called “hard Brexit”. It should never have been given credence. Indeed, in the British constitution (unwritten though it is) Parliament is sovereign and a referendum can only be advisory. The decision to trigger Article 50, sadly supported by both Tory and Labour parties in the House, was taken far too precipitately. There should have been a period for reflection, for detailed analysis of all the implications of leaving the EU, and a coherent, logical position developed as a basis for negotiations.

The Leave vote, 17.4 millions, is not an unchangeable, unchallengeable verdict for all time. It represented only 37 per cent – just over one-third - of the electorate at the time as opposed to 35 per cent Remain and 28 per cent who did not express an opinion. Two pillars of democracy are that minority rights also have to be respected, and that decisions can be changed in the light of new evidence. So there is certainly a case for second thoughts on our relationship to the EU, given all that has been revealed since. However, a people’s vote, a second referendum, is not the simple answer it seems. I fear that it would be once again dominated by emotional arguments and questionable (to say the least) statistics. Parliament should reassert its sovereignty, use the extra time now available to debate all the issues constructively, and then find a way to consult the people without reopening all the old divisions.

But there is an even more fundamental issue, which hardly ever gets any consideration. A primary motivation for the founding of what has become the EU was a determination not to repeat the post World War I mistakes, to put a end to the periodic wars between ever-varying combinations of allies and enemies, that had racked Europe for centuries. How different our history would be had something like the EU been created in 1919 instead of the Versailles Treaty! The Common Market and all the other aspects of the EU are means to that end, establishing co-operation between, initially five, now 27/28 nations, for their mutual benefit. With all its faults, that fundamental aspect of the EU is the real argument for membership, but it was never a significant part of the referendum campaign.

Frank Jackson

Kingsmoor Road, Harlow