Commenting on the result of the Peterborough by-election, Guto Bebb MP, former Conservative minister and leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said:
“The Peterborough byelection sends two very clear messages to the Conservative Party.
“Firstly, if we continue to legitimise and normalise the most extreme options on Brexit, we will divide our vote and destroy our reputation as a party that stands for the national interest. A No Deal crash out from the EU will be bad for business, will bring chaos to public life and is an obsession of a small group of hard-core ideologues.
“Secondly, any new Conservative leader risks handing power to Jeremy Corbyn if he or she attempts to bypass Parliamentary opposition to their preferred form of Brexit by calling a General Election.
“The rise of the Brexit Party has dramatically lowered the threshold Corbyn needs to reach to seize power in an election. Last night’s results illustrated that perfectly – Labour’s candidate crossed the line with just 31% of the vote while the Conservatives were a distant third place in a constituency we held until two years ago. Any Prime Minister calling an election in these circumstances before Brexit is resolved would be guilty of an extraordinary act of hubris.
“That’s why more and more Conservatives – both supporters and opponents of leaving the EU – are coming to realise the only way to resolve this crisis is to return the decision to the people in a final say referendum. ‘Trust the people,’ has been the greatest of Conservative slogans for over a century and it is time for us to return to this sound and solid maxim.”