Consider banning referendums, says Tory former minister, after EU campaign "riddled with lies"

PUBLISHED: 14:02 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 14:02 30 January 2018

Lord Higgins

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A Tory former minister has called on the government to consider banning referendums, calling the 2016 EU vote "the most sordid political campaign I can remember in my lifetime".

Lord Higgins urged his frontbench colleagues to speed up the Brexit process by making its own amendments to the Bill to address issues raised by the Lords Constitution Committee.

"We need to make progress, we need more clarity, we certainly don't need any more referendums," he said.

"The Dutch government just newly formed a coalition, has come to the view, having experience with a referendum on Ukraine, that they should pass a Bill prohibiting any more referendums.

"Moreover, they would not have a referendum on whether you could have a Bill prohibiting referendums. That's something we really ought to consider very carefully in this country."

Former Olympic athlete Lord Higgins, 90, also said it was a "doubtful proposition" that the result of the referendum should be followed, as he urged peers to take a more sceptical view.

He said: "My noble friend on the front bench again today said we must honour the result of the referendum.

"My Lords, it was the most sordid political campaign I can remember in my lifetime. It was riddled with lies.

"And anyway, a majority of the British people did not vote for it."

The former Treasury minister was also critical of government policy, saying: "A doctrine seems to have emerged saying if you're in a negotiation, you must not say what you want, because that somehow undermines your negotiating position.

"This is being said quite explicitly. The result of this is the government simply aren't saying what it wants."

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