Sunday newspapers report that Theresa May’s team are considering a second referendum – without Remain as an option.
May’s key allies of Theresa May – Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington chief of staff Gavin Barwell – have reportedly been in meetings with Labour MPs aimed at getting cross-party consensus for a new referendum.
The Sunday Times claims that cabinet office officials under Lidington were planning to offer voters a choice between Theresa May’s deal or a no-deal Brexit.
But the report adds that they would expect the Commons to amend the legislation to allow for the option of Remain, so that Theresa May can claim that she tried to honour the referendum result.
However the Conservatives have taken to social media to deny claims the Conservatives are considering such a move.
Lidington tweeted a link to last week’s Hansard record of Parliamentary proceedings, where he set out how a second vote was a possibility, but could be ‘divisive not decisive’.
Barwell tweeted: ‘Happy to confirm I am *not* planning a 2nd referendum with political opponents (or anyone else to anticipate the next question)’
Education secretary Damian Hinds insisted Cabinet has not discussed a second EU referendum.
Asked if Cabinet had talked about the issue, Hinds told Sky News: ‘No. Government policy couldn’t be clearer. We are here to act on the will of the British people clearly expressed in the referendum.’
Meanwhile, former prime minister Tony Blair labelled May ‘irresponsible’ after she accused him of ‘undermining’ her Brexit negotiations.
Denying the PM’s claim that his call for a second referendum was an ‘insult to the office he once held’, Blair said he was speaking out in the national interest and in the interests of democracy.
He said: ‘Far from being anti-democratic it would be the opposite, as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying.
‘What is irresponsible, however, is to try to steamroller MPs into accepting a deal they genuinely think is a bad one with the threat that if they do not fall into line, the Government will have the country crash out without a deal.’