The campaign to reverse British referendum verdict

The case for a second Brexit referendum

We now know much more about the disadvantages of leaving the EU that we did first time around

By Andreas Whittam Smith
3 May, 2018

The very idea of holding a second referendum to approve or reject the terms for leaving the European Union which Theresa May, the prime minister, secures should not in itself be a matter of controversy. As Vince Cable, the Lib Dem leader, argues, Britain could have a second EU referendum before Christmas this year, giving time for a lengthy 12-week campaign starting next September.

Nick Clegg puts a rather different argument. He says that Brexit should be put to a second referendum because people who voted Leave are dying off. The “high point” of support for Brexit had passed because “the oldest voters voted for Brexit in the largest numbers” while the young voted to remain in the EU.

My case is that the first referendum said we should leave without specifying how. In a second referendum, the government would in effect say – here’s the deal we have negotiated… do you approve? What could be more logical? What could be more natural?