A former Conservative minister has warned that a general election will not end the Brexit crisis, but instead will deepen it.
Dominic Grieve, a former Tory attorney general, will use a speech at the launch of a new report from the People’s Vote campaign to call for his party to seek a stable majority in paliament by giving the public a “final say”.
Grieve, a prominent supporter of a second referendum, will speak alongside Labour former foreign secretary Dame Margaret Beckett at the launch in central London.
The report – entitled Six Dead-Ends, One Cliff-Edge, Only One Way Out – argues that a series of possible Brexit outcomes are likely to lead to further political deadlock – including renegotiating the backstop.
It pours cold water on the idea of having a general election – saying most Conservatives are opposed to one until Brexit is resolved – and claims there is unlikely to be a majority in parliament for revoking Article 50.
Instead, the report argues that a People’s Vote is the “most popular way of resolving the Brexit crisis” and the “only legitimate and democratic solution available”.
Grieve is expected to tell the launch: “We should not even be thinking about inflicting a no deal on Britain when this was barely even mentioned in 2016. Nor do I believe any right-thinking Conservative prime minister should be risking a general election which, far from ending the Brexit crisis, will really only deepen it.”
An alliance with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party would be a “victory for a virulent form of populism” and be the end of the Conservative Party “as we know it”, he warns.
“Some talk about an alliance in such an election with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party as if it could deliver a landslide but, even if that was the case, it would not be for a party that Churchill, Macmillan, Thatcher or Major would recognise.
“It would be a victory for a virulent form of populism that is a threat to our most cherished values and our democracy. It would be the end of the Conservative Party as we know it.
“Instead, Conservatives should be seeking to build a stable majority in parliament to settle the Brexit crisis, acting in the long-term interests of the Union and the British people and working across party lines to find a solution that ensures – whether we eventually leave the EU or stay – the deadlock in parliament is broken and any outcome is a legitimate one.
“Giving the public the final say would settle the issue without the party being blamed for imposing either a Brexit deal or a no-deal Brexit on the country without its explicit consent. Some of us see such a referendum as our best hope of stopping Brexit.
“But more and more Conservatives see it as a way of breaking the deadlock and delivering Brexit. Either way, it is a democratic answer to a question that threatens not only our party but also our country.”
Talking about the report on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme Grieve hinted that current ministers who face losing their jobs under an incoming administration would join him in attempts to prevent a no-deal Brexit.
“By the end of next week there are going to be more Conservatives who have indicated very clearly that no-deal is unacceptable and I notice that many of them will no longer be on the front bench,” he said.
Dame Margaret Beckett is expected to say: “We are approaching a new cliff-edge of accidentally crashing out of the EU with no deal. There is only one viable solution and it is also happens to be the most democratic.
“Instead of trying to force Brexit through parliament and on the country, we believe there is a route to a legitimate and lasting settlement by giving the people the final say.
“It is a position now supported by every opposition party, including my own, in the House of Commons. It is a practical and democratic solution supported by an increasing number of Conservative MPs too. A People’s Vote is the only way out of this crisis.”