Speeches have emerged of prominent Brexiters supporting a referendum on a final Brexit deal from as far back as 2011.
In a video clip widely-shared on social media the leading Brextremist Jacob Rees-Mogg made the case during a 2011 Commons debate on an EU referendum.
He argued: ‘It might make more sense to have the second referendum after the renegotiation is completed’.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has since dismissed the idea of a People’s Vote claiming: ‘It is slightly to my mind contentious of democracy to say, ‘we don’t like the vote so you will vote again, and then you will vote again until you do what we say”.
In a speech in 2012 David Davis said that the government should spell out what relationship it was seeking with the EU before putting it to the public in a ‘mandate referendum’ and following it up the outcome with a ‘decision referendum’.
He explained: ‘This in turn would mean that British citizens would be offered the best possible circumstances for staying in, as well as a real alternative in pulling out. The purpose of this strategy is to maximise both the democratic legitimacy and the negotiating leverage to achieve our policy aims.’
The proposal was backed by Brexiteer John Redwood. He claimed: ‘This seems to me to be the best way forward. The negotiations would also allow the government to negotiate the items that would need to be sorted out for exit anyway. There do need to be arrangements on ferry routes, airspace, pipelines, extradition, police intelligence and all the rest between the UK and the rest of the EU.’
Responding to questions about why he no longer backed a fresh referendum Redwood told the Independent: ‘The double referendum strategy was proposed when the leadership of the Conservative Party refused to offer a simple Leave/Remain referendum in a manifesto to see if they could accept that instead. They didn’t.
‘Subsequently they agreed to a one referendum approach, as did the people in the general election and the Parliament which followed. You can’t change strategies – we did not have a mandate referendum, we held a single Leave/Remain referendum which now has to be implemented.’
Twitter users were quick to brand the politicians’ change of view as hypocrisy.
One tweeted: ‘Oooops. Need to bury this @Jacob_Rees_Mogg or people might think you are a self-serving hypocrite’.
Aidan McQuade asked Jacob Rees-Mogg: ‘This clip does rather add to the perception that you are a snivelling hypocrite pushing now for a hard #Brexit for your own personal gain. But I reckon you have a perfectly self-serving explanation. Care to comment?’
Tom Brake, spokesman from the Liberal Democrats, said: ‘The Brexiters who one claimed they’d trust people to have the final say must now come clean on why they’ve changed their mind.
‘A cynic may suggest it’s because of the mess Brexit is becoming and the increasing clarify on the damage it will do the United Kingdom.’