Sunday, 15 April 2018
A new campaign for a referendum on Brexit was launched Sunday. The initiators claimed that all the British, not only those elected to parliament, should have the last word. Dubbed “The People’s Vote”, the campaign, which includes members of all major parties, started in London in the presence of Star Trek actor, Sir Patrick Stewart.
It also includes other groups opposed to Brexit from the “Open Britain” organization which campaigned to remain in the EU at the time of the June 2016 referendum, won by supporters of Brexit.
“Brexit is not inevitable,” said Open Britain director James McGrory. “Brexit will affect everyone in the country, which is why there should not be 650 politicians (Editor’s note: in the parliament) who decide our future, but 65 million people”.
“It’s a vote to ratify the final agreement, which is different from what people initially thought when they agreed,” Liberal-Democrat MP Layla Moran told AFP. “It’s not just for those who want to stay, it’s also for those who want to leave”.
According to Moran, any referendum should take place after October, once the withdrawal agreement has been finalised and before “Brexit day” at the end of March next year, when the country will no longer be a member of the EU.
Brexit remains an explosive subject in the United Kingdom, less than a year from its effective departure from EU.
The United Kingdom, which joined the European Economic Community (EEC) in 1973, will leave the EU on 29 March 2019, almost three years after a majority of 52 % voted in favor of leaving in the referendum of 23 June 2016.
The British Prime Minister, Theresa May, obtained a transitional period until the end of 2020 to prepare her country for Brexit. So far, the United Kingdom has stated its willingness to leave the single market and the customs union while maintaining the closest possible links with the EU.
Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has also called for a second referendum on Brexit. A second referendum would be based on the assumption that UK would remain in a reformed EU which would be different than the EU which the UK voted to leave in the first referendum.
“The only alternative to a hard Brexit is no Brexit. But, clearly, time is running out now,” he said in a speech in Brussels in March.
In recent months, opinion polls have reported growing support among the public for remaining in the EU, without however registering a radical reversal. The Brexit-friendly Daily Express published in March an online survey of 2,019 British adults, reporting that 35% of Britons were in favor of a second referendum and 65% against.
The Brussels Times