Even as contenders for the party leadership supporting a no deal crash out of the EU, yet more leading Conservatives have stated that a People’s Vote on Brexit is emerging as the only realistic way for their party to end the Parliamentary gridlock.
At the weekend Justice Secretary David Gauke and Chancellor Philip Hammond warned that pressing for a no deal crash out in the face of Parliamentary opposition would likely destroy the Government and lead to a General Election that the Tories could not win.
Former Number 10 special adviser Nick Hargrave wrote in Conservative Home:
“Or [a new leader] could just be honest. After the political paralysis of the last few months, Brexit – negotiated or otherwise – is not going to happen without some form of new mandate from the British people. So if you’re feeling queasy about changing the Parliament…perhaps it’s time to begin thinking about changing your policy on a second referendum. What’s the point otherwise?
After the European election results they were joined by former leader and Foreign Secretary William Hague who warned ‘It will become extremely difficult to deliver any form of Brexit without, one way or another, going back to the electorate.’
Today Sir Malcolm Rifkind and Lord (Daniel) Finkelstein became the latest Conservative politicians to point to a People’s Vote on Brexit as the way out of the mess.
Neither man has previously been a supporter of the campaign – indeed Sir Malcolm makes it clear he has no great enthusiasm for the idea but does recognise it is the only option out of the impasse.
Sir Malcom told Newsnight:
“I’ve been against a referendum, but you know, it is Sherlock Holmes who once said, when you rule out everything else, whatever’s left, however disagreeable, may be the only question of how you can get there. Because we’re constantly asked, how do you deliver Brexit? Now the government cannot deliver it by itself, it doesn’t have a majority in parliament to do so. Parliament has not been able, to my surprise, to reach an agreement on a compromise that it could enforce upon the government. So that option is no longer available.
“Who else can give legitimacy? Either to leaving with ‘no deal’ or remaining, or whatever, there’s only one group of people and that is the British electorate.”
While Lord Finkelstein writes in The Times:
“The reality is that in this parliament there isn’t a majority for any solution to Brexit. Yes, you can argue that somehow there might be, and maybe that will turn out to be the case, but we all really know that is pretty unlikely. So either you change the parliament or you seek to make the decision outside parliament. That’s the choice. An election or a referendum.
“No Conservative MP wants a general election.”
Sir Malcolm on Newsnight: https://twitter.com/peoplesvote_uk/status/1133644124014436353
Lord Finkelstein in The Times: https://www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/comment/there-s-no-avoiding-election-or-a-second-vote-8rqn087zt