Politics

How and why Britain might be asked to vote again on Brexit | Andrew Rawnsley

It still doesn’t look that likely, but we can begin to see the circumstances which would compel a second referendum

Can we just call the whole damn thing off? Could Brexit be stopped so that Britain can get on with the rest of its life? Is there a possibility of doing a Breverse? This question has been nagging away, always in the background and sometimes in the foreground, ever since the narrow victory for Leave. One reason this is so is because it is such a massive issue. Another reason is because such a massive issue was decided by such a tight margin in the summer of 2016.

The argument that there should be another vote before Britain heads out of the door has been pressed aggressively by unreconciled Remainers, the most vocal of them being Tony Blair, Sir Nick Clegg and Andrew Adonis. A hope that Brexit might somehow be averted also flickers in the breasts of some Tory Remainers, including members of the cabinet. They are handcuffed to a withdrawal policy that they still think is madness, even if they can’t say so openly. David Lidington, a former Europe minister, was reshuffled into the hole left by Damian Green and is now the prime minister’s key man on the cabinet’s Brexit committees. I rather suspect Mr Lidington would be a very happy fellow if he came out of the shower one morning to find that the last 18 months have just been a bad dream. Other senior figures around the top table, including the chancellor and the home secretary, would be the opposite of distraught if Britain didn’t leave in the end.

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