UK Cabinet Snubs Highest Profile Call So Far for New Brexit Referendum
The office of British Prime Minister Theresa May has turned down a call by former Education Secretary and ruling party MP, Justine Greening, for a new referendum on Brexit, the UK’s planned exit from the European Union.
Downing Street has thus snubbed the highest profile call for a new Brexit vote so far, reports the BBC with respect to the motion by Greening who quit May’s Cabinet in January 2018 during a government reshuffle.
May’s office said a new referendum on the UK’s exit from the EU would not happen “in any circumstances”. The British Prime Minister herself has ruled out a second vote, and so has Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the opposition Labor Party.
In their June 2016 referendum, a majority of the British citizens voted in favor of Brexit (51.9% to 48.1%). On March 29, 2017, British Prime Minister May formally triggered Article 50 of the EU’s Lisbon Treaty, which deals with exit from the European Union, initiating a two-year process of negotiations.
The actual talks for Brexit between the EU and the UK began on June 19, 2017, about a year after the Brexit referendum was held. Britain is set to leave the European Union on March 29, 2019, which is expected to be followed by 1.5-year-long transition period.
Justine Greening, former Education Secretary and Conservative MP for Putney, argued the final Brexit decision should be given back to the people, and out of the hands of “deadlocked politicians”.
The final Brexit referendum she called for would have three ballot options: remaining in the EU, leaving the EU without a deal, or British Prime Minister May’s Chequers plan which is seen as a “middle of the road” approach.
Greening also insisted that a potential final Brexit referendum should have a first and second preference vote so that a consensus could be reached.
She described the British government’s proposals as a “genuine clever attempt at a compromise that could work” but “suits no-one”.
“The reality is Parliament is now stalemated. Whatever the proposal on the table, there will be MPs who vote it down. But Britain needs to find a route forward,” Greening told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.
In her words, some other senior Conservatives also agreed with her stance. While she supported Remain in the referendum, she argued that people who supported Leave would also feel the government’s approach was “not what they voted for”.
“We’ll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them,” Greening wrote in an article in The Times, slamming May’s Chequers plan.
“It’s not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, ‘What’s the point? For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted,” the former Education Secretary elaborated.
She had forecast earlier that future MPs might try to “improve or unde” Brexit in case it failed to deliver as promised to the young people.
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