House of Commons speaker John Bercow has claimed there is a strong possibility the public will be asked to vote again – either in a general election or second referendum.
Speaking to France 24, the speaker said that “the referendum was won by the supporters of Brexit, but three years later, I don’t sense that there is anything approaching a national consensus.”
He said “it is possible there could be agreement before the end of October… but I wouldn’t bet my house on it. I wouldn’t bet anything on it.”
Bercow said it is “possible” some sort of deal could be agreed with the EU before the deadline, but also said it was “possible” the UK leaves without a deal, or has another extension.
But he said that there is now a strong possibility of another public vote surrounding Brexit because of a lack of consensus in parliament.
“How many options are left? Sherlock Holmes used to say – in those famous novels – when all of the other possibilities have been eliminated, the remaining possibility, however improbable, must be true.”
He continued: “I think there is a possibility. I think if parliament won’t approve an agreement, and if parliament doesn’t want the UK to leave without an agreement, I think in those circumstances (and I’m not arguing for this, I’m not saying this should happen) in those circumstances there are only two other possibilities.”
He added: “One is there is a general election which might change the arithmetic, the parliamentary mathematics. The other possibility is there could be another referendum. In which people are confronted with the option of leaving with a deal or leaving with no-deal and the alternative which is continuing with the deal we have now which is remaining in the EU.
“Is it possible? Is a second referendum possible? Yes it is possible.
“It’s true there was a referendum that decided we should leave, but that was in the last parliament, and I’m not arguing it should be reversed, but constitutionally is there any legal or constitutional reason that it shouldn’t be reversed? No that could happen.”
He said he thought we “probably” would leave, but we “might” also stay. He said he did not believe any outcome will be sorted by the autumn, and it could still take twelve to eighteen to find a resolution.