Psychologist makes the perfect case for a second referendum on Question Time

PUBLISHED: 00:33 31 May 2019 | UPDATED: 11:56 31 May 2019

Psychologist Steven Pinker on BBC Question Time.  Photograph: BBC.

Psychologist Steven Pinker on BBC Question Time. Photograph: BBC.


Cognitive psychologist Steven Pinker came out for a second referendum on BBC Question Time.

Speaking from, he admitted, the position of an outsider "with no skin in the game", he said a second referendum is "perfectly reasonable" given that new information has come to light.

He also argued against a no deal Brexit, which he just called: "mad".

"The idea of having a border between Ireland and the Republic of Ireland is a bad idea but then not having a border would be inconsistent with what Brexit promised to deliver," he said.

"It does seem that as we start to think about the actual implications of implementing Brexit, it seems more and more like a square circle.

"And that the essence of intelligence, of learning, of progress is absorbing new information, learning from your mistakes, not repeating the same policy if new information that comes to light shows that it is unreasonable.

"Based on what we know now about how to implement Brexit it seems to me perfectly reasonable to have a second referendum.

Tory leadership hopeful Rory Stewart began shaking his head in disagreement midway through the argument, and then tried to counter the world's leading cognitive scientist with the "definition of madness" cliche.

MORE: Labour MP demolishes Brexiteer's argument on Question Time

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MORE: I'm not a 'stupid, colonial, English idiot' - Elton John on Brexit

The panel show, broadcast from Epsom, also featured Labour's Barry Gardiner, Lib Dem deputy leader Jo Swinson, and Brexit Party MEP Alex Phillips along with Pinker.

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