Britons back second Brexit referendum as Irish backstop flares again
As the UK, Ireland and the EU continued to disagree on how to handle the Irish border in the event of Brexit, a major survey found more than half of British people support holding a referendum on the deal.
The massive poll of more than 20,000 people around Britain, commissioned from Survation by Channel 4, revealed that 55% support having a referendum on whether to accept the deal the British government negotiates.
Asked if they would have a vote in which the choice was between accepting the deal or staying in the EU, 43% would back having such a vote and 37% would oppose it. If the choice was between accepting the deal or leaving without one, 38% would back such a poll, but 39% would support a poll where Britain would be asked to accept the deal or reopen talks to get a better one.
If the UK was to have another referendum on whether the UK should remain a member of the EU or leave, Survation estimated that the public would vote to Remain by 54% to 46%.
Also on Monday, more than 1,500 UK lawyers urged Theresa May and MPs to back a second vote, with a letter to the Prime Minister stating that parliament should not be bound to the 2016 vote just as it isn’t bound to the 1975 referendum that took the UK into the EU in the first place.
The lawyers argued that voters were not aware of the exact deal when they voted back in 2016.
Jonathan Cooper, a human rights specialist barrister at Doughty Street Chambers, said: “The current state of the Brexit negotiations is worrying people throughout the UK and the legal profession is no exception to that. We represent people from across industry and society and we see every day the way the prospect of a catastrophic Brexit deal is already causing real harm.”
The letter follows a similar plea from over 70 business leaders concerned about trade post-Brexit and another letter from over 1,000 people in Northern Ireland that are worried about citizens rights after the divorce and the protection of the Good Friday Agreement.
IRISH BORDER ISSUE DOGS TALKS
The Irish border is still the main problem stalling Brexit negotiations, with both sides unable to agree on how to prevent a hard border but enforce stricter trade control.
On Sunday, the Telegraph reported that Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab demanded to pull Britain out of the “backstop” arrangement that would keep Northern Ireland temporarily aligned with the EU after three months of it coming into effect.
In Raab’s latest plan, the UK would ask for a “review mechanism” within a few months of the backstop taking effect to allow it to continue only by mutual consent.
The report said Raab proposed the idea to Irish foreign minister Simon Coveney last Tuesday.
This Monday, Coveney said on Twitter that neither Ireland or the EU would allow a backstop option that could be ended unilaterally by Britain.