Boris Johnson will need second referendum to save his government, political commentator claims

Emily Maitlis on BBC Newsnight interviews a panel of political commentators. Photograph: BBC.

Emily Maitlis on BBC Newsnight interviews a panel of political commentators. Photograph: BBC. - Credit: Archant

A political commentator believes Boris Johnson will try to break the Brexit deadlock with a second referendum because it may be the only way to stop Jeremy Corbyn in Number 10.

Discussing the prospect of another general election on BBC Newsnight, political commentator and journalist for The Sun Tom Newton-Dunn said that Johnson could hold another referendum rather than ask the country vote for MPs again.

He said that his new team could hold one if they believe they have the confidence they can win again.

Newton-Dunn told the programme: "Remember what Vote Leave did the first time?

"They think they can win referendums.

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"It wouldn't surprise me at all if they don't roll the dice and sign themselves up to a possible suicidal general election with top-slicing to the Liberal Democrats and the Brexit Party and think they can win a second referendum."

Craig Oliver, former director of communications for David Cameron, however warned against another referendum as he believes Johnson's majority is still non-existent.

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"There is a problem with that.

"You win the referendum but you've still only got a working majority of two which defrays over time and means you have to invite a general election anyway."

He added: "The chances are they're probably going to have to face some sort of vote pretty soon… I think he's learned a lot from Steve Bannon and Donald Trump (who are) constantly campaigning."

Newton-Dunn, however, conceded: "I think that it is envitably ending up in a poll, nationwide, with people having to cast a vote one way or another by the end of the year.

"Brexit before a second referendum? It's slightly chicken and egg, you might need one to do the other, deliver Breixt to deliver a majority.

"I think the civil service will be thinking we have a few days or weeks left of this government before we may get Jeremy Corbyn or somebody else."

He continued: "Boris Johnson will have a majority of two next week, one or two defections to the Lib Dems and it's all over, because he will lose a confidence vote before it even gets to one."

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