IT seems to me that the Prime Minister and her advisers have done "due diligence" in delivering a reasonable basis for the departure of the United Kingdom from the European Union. Having rejected her proposals the House of Commons has now, I believe, the primary responsibility not of seeking to deliver a Brexit of whatever kind, but of discerning what is likely to deliver "the good" to all the people of the United Kingdom, and by implication to our current European partners.

It seems abundantly clear that the view of Brexit placed before the electorate at the time of the referendum could be said to have been seriously unrealistic. The House of Commons is now very well placed to say whether or not the concept of Brexit placed before the voters at the time of the referendum is still defensible, and hence if one can reasonably refer to the will of the people as expressed at that time as still being relevant. Accordingly I believe that a free vote – a vote of conscience – by the House of Commons, should be held, with two clear options: either to abandon the process of leaving the European Union, or to continue on a path to departure. This move would place Members of Parliament in their proper position as individual elected representatives in a representative democracy of deciding on behalf of all their constituents which path to follow. Before the vote MPs should, I consider, be reminded that as they represent all their constituents (not just those who elected them), they must put aside party and personal predilections, and vote on what they believe, in conscience, is in the best interests of all of their constituents, of all of the people of the United Kingdom and of the concept of a peaceful Europe. An analogy would be the vote on the abolition of capital punishment.

As there has been ample opportunity for debate prior to this pivotal point, I suggest that the making of speeches before a vote might be ruled out, other than a statement setting out procedure.

Professor John R Hume, Glasgow G11.

THIS may be too obvious to say, but somebody has to: opposition to the Tories is tragically split. The more people change to the Liberal Democrats and the SNP, the more secure the Tories become.

In one General Election, the SNP took all the seats in Scotland except one. Did that get the Tories out?

Whatever you say about Labour right now, the party is all we’ve got. If it won all its seats, the Tories would be out.

We have to accept that some people have curious enthusiasms. I cannot believe that any adult would care where a ball lands, but there it is. I cannot believe anybody would be excited about his inadvertent birthplace, but there it is, and it includes my best friends.

Now Labour says it is turning Remain. Its leaders must have been reading my letters.

My favourite dream is one huge united anti-Tory party, who would concentrate on socialism and European membership, setting aside meantime, anti-Semitism and knife crime. Oh, and Scottish independence.

Mrs Moyna Gardner, Glasgow G12.

I CANNOT understand all this talk of recession after Brexit ("Forecasters warn of recession if UK crashes out of EU", The Herald, July 19). As Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, states, all you have to do is “grow your economy” ("Scotland’s budget faces shortfall of £200 million next year", The Herald, July 19) – easy peasy; and it doesn’t apparently take much. All you require are minimal income tax powers, the powers that David Mundell described as a “fiscal trap”.

It’s a pity these measures weren’t taken right across the 20th century, when Scotland’s economy was directly controlled from London, and suffered much lower growth rates than the UK. As one banker put it some years ago: “Scotland was in recession for 150 years”.

GR Weir, Ochiltree.

MANY people are critical of our politicians, with good reason, but the underlying causes of their poor performance are not clear.

One possibility is that the political approach to decision-making is derived from the legal system. Unfortunately, the practice of deciding outcomes by persuasive argument is not always fit for purpose outside the courtroom. Global warming will dominate life on earth for the foreseeable future and no amount of discussion or debate will change this, yet the Chancellor of the Exchequer insists on pointing out that the costs are very high, with the implication that we should continue burning coal, oil and gas. Of course the costs are high, but the alternatives even in the medium term are much worse.

Brexit is a classic example of a decision that should be made following a determined and honest attempt to establish the facts and to make those facts public. Instead we have groups of people who think that they can win an argument, based purely on rhetoric. Even if many of the outcomes are uncertain, there should be a process of evaluation that is not based on "winning" or "losing".

A second possible reason for Westminster politicians to be so incompetent is that many are very poorly educated. To go from an expensive private school to Oxford, where 24 weeks a year for three years may be spent studying a subject of little or no practical relevance to life on this planet, is not a useful preparation for decision-making in a technically complex world. This is exacerbated by going straight into politics, buoyed by a high level of self-confidence and not the smallest notion of what life is like for those who have to earn a living. Perhaps the worst aspect of this career path is that the ones who end up leading the pack are those with the most confidence, not the clearest thinkers.

A third possible reason is that Oxford graduates tend to go back to their professors for advice. If the professors are purely theoretical in their analyses they will be unable to reflect the realities of life and all the real world uncertainties that affect the outcomes of policy decisions.

A fourth potential reason is that life in politics is very stressful. This seems to lead to a kind of febrile state, in which the politician loses all contact with reality; life becomes a merry-go-round, based on lies and pretence, with the object to become famous rather than to serve.

These observations are not specific to one party or another. Whichever way you look at it, the Westminster system needs to be reformed.

Roger Waigh, Helensburgh.

FOR months you have given over a complete page to letters on Brexit even though Holyrood estimates the financial impact on Scotland will be around £11 billion a year. However, there is scant discussion provided over the annual £18 billion cost of a ban on gas as part of a zero carbon policy.

What is of even more importance to Scottish consumers is who will pay these costs– that is, is it the domestic consumer or will politicians insist that renewable energy is price-matched to the 4p/unit cost of gas ?

Ian Moir, Castle Douglas.

Read more: OBR warns no-deal Brexit could push UK into recession