Nigel Farage says "maybe" we should have a second referendum on EU membership

PUBLISHED: 10:44 11 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:24 11 January 2018

Nigel Farage on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff

Nigel Farage on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff

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Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said that "maybe" there should be a second referendum on EU membership to "kill it off for a generation".

Speaking to Channel 5's The Wright Stuff, Mr Farage said: "What is for certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never, ever, ever give up.

"They will go on whingeing and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

"So maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum."

Asked by host Matthew Wright what that referendum should specifically be on, Mr Farage responded: "On EU membership."

When Mr Wright pressed whether that meant "the whole thing", Mr Farage said: "Yes, of course, of course. Unless you want to have a multiple-choice referendum which would confuse people.

"I think if we had a second referendum on EU membership we'd kill it off for a generation. The percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time round. And we may just finish the whole thing off and Blair can disappear off into total obscurity."

Prime minister Theresa May has insisted a second referendum would be a betrayal of voters and would also lead to a bad deal in exit talks.

But former PM Mr Blair, the Liberal Democrats and other leading Remain campaigners argue voters should be given a say once Brexit negotiations are finalised.

Lord Malloch Brown, chairman of Best for Britain, which opposes Brexit, said: "A second referendum: my message is clear - bring it on.

"This is something that the country needs. Every day we see the disaster of Brexit as we see its impact on our economy, jobs, communities and our society.

"With these comments Nigel Farage is disowning the chaos that trying to leave the EU has wrought on this country. Him and his Brexiteer allies have zero idea of what would come next."

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign for close ties with the EU, said: "For perhaps the first time in his life, Nigel Farage is making a valid point.

"In a democracy like ours, the British people have every right to keep an open mind about Brexit.

"If the Brexit that is delivered does not match up to the promises of Leave campaigners - with no sign of £350m extra per week for the NHS but a whopping great divorce bill of £39bn - then everyone is entitled to ask if this is the right choice for our country."

It comes as Mrs May hosts a meeting in Downing Street to update leading financiers on Brexit negotiations.

Among those at the talks are Lloyds of London chief executive Inga Beale, HSBC chairman Mark Tucker, and Blackrock chief executive Rachel Lord.

The government wants a bespoke trade deal covering both goods and services after the UK leaves the bloc but the European Union has been resistant to the calls.

Officials in a number of European capitals are open to considering plans to allow access to the single market in return for "substantial payments" to the EU, according to The Times.

"If Britain wants to trade budget contributions for access to [the] single market for the City, there will be many takers," a European diplomat said.

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "Tony Blair and Nigel Farage aren't two people I'd normally like to be put in a group with, but on this issue they are speaking sense.

"But Farage shouldn't be so confident of winning. People are now far more aware of the costs of Brexit and the fabrications of the Leave campaign."

Ukip leader Henry Bolton said: "Ukip policy on a second referendum remains unchanged. The party opposes a second referendum."

Mr Bolton said he was convinced that Leave would win a second vote by a larger margin than the 52%-48% recorded in 2016.

But he said: "To hold such a referendum would be to call into question the decisive importance of the largest democratic exercise ever held by this country and the unambiguous mandate the people gave the government on that day - the mandate to take us out of the European Union.

"Such a second referendum would set a precedent for revisiting any democratic decision made in future; it would undermine the fabric of our democratic principles and would weaken the clarity and effectiveness of democratic decision."

The prime minister's official spokesman said: "We will not be having a second referendum."

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