A People's Vote is the only way forward - and the prime minister knows it

PUBLISHED: 12:43 17 December 2018 | UPDATED: 12:48 17 December 2018

Prime Minister Theresa May reacts during a press conference at 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Matt Dunham.

Prime Minister Theresa May reacts during a press conference at 10 Downing Street. Photograph: Matt Dunham.

PA Wire/PA Images

The prime minister has a knack of categorically ruling something out before the opposite happens. BELLA FRIMPONG says a People's Vote is the only way forward.

Looking at the front pages it’s clear there is now only one political issue that is making the running.

As a way of distracting from her epic failure at the EU summit, the delayal of parliament’s meaningful vote and the closer-than-expected vote on her leadership - the PM has stopped trying to sell her universally unpopular Brexit Deal.

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Instead, overnight, her team briefed extracts from comments she will make in the House of Commons.

Instead of answering the key questions that young people (and everyone else) has about this never-ending Brexit mess, she instead plans to lead on a full frontal assault on the People’s Vote campaign.

Some of the choice quotes include that a People’s Vote “would further divide our country at the very moment we should be working to unite it” - ignoring the fact that her government has been complicit in dividing this country for the last 8 years through austerity measures, hostile immigration environment, the introduction of universal credit and not to mention party politics.

But even if that wasn’t the case, her statement - whilst unprecedented - feels unimportant.

The prime minister has a knack of categorically ruling something out, before it inexplicably happens shortly after.

She said there wouldn’t be a general election in 2017, and there was.

MORE: May to attack a People’s Vote in Parliament as case becomes ‘overwhelming’

She said during that campaign that there “was no magic money tree” before finding £1 billion to get the DUP prop up her government.

She said that there would be a meaningful vote for Parliament on the Brexit deal, which she then delayed indefinitely.

If anything, her very specific denial should make us realise that a People’s Vote has never been closer.

If you were to say to young People’s Vote campaigners over the summer that the prime minister’s statement after the December EU summit would only be “please don’t back a second referendum” - we’d rightly tell you to lay off the pints.

MORE: ‘Brexit is over!’ - Brexiteer concludes it ‘will not happen at all’

With both the de-facto deputy prime minister and her chief of staff planning for a People’s Vote as “the only way out”, it’s now clear that at the highest levels of government there’s only one direction of travel.

Young people and students - with groups like my own, For our Future’s Sake - have always known that the fantasy promises of the EU referendum were undeliverable.

It makes democratic sense for there to be a People’s Vote to sense check if this is what people voted for, and to get us out of this politician-made mess.

We’re glad that the politicians look like they’re about to agree.

• Bella Frimpong is an Italian national and a campaigner for For our Future’s Sake, a youth and student-led campaign calling for a People’s Vote.

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