Responding to Conservative chairman James Cleverley’s defence of his claims there would be “unrest” and briefings from Downing Street civil servants that MPs supporting a final say referendum would be “lynched”, Anna Turley MP, leading supporter of People’s Vote, said:
“It is deeply irresponsible and reckless for ministers and unnamed Downing Street civil servants to be normalising the idea that there will be political violence and even murder if the people are asked what they think about Boris Johnson’s Brexit.
“All members of the House of Commons, and women MPs in particular, know that such speech has a definite effect and act as encouragement and cover to extremists. It must stop now.
“The preferred option of the government and its supporters of a General Election fought over Brexit would be divisive but not decisive. Brexit has already divided the country and it is a People’s Vote that offers us the chance of closure with a democratic decision on, and settlement of, the Brexit question.
“Leaving on the EU on disastrous terms will do nothing to heal the divisions exposed in the last referendum. A bad Brexit will only deepen inequality, deny opportunity and hit working class communities first and worst.
“There are strong feelings on all sides, but we can never let racist thugs and street brawlers dictate to our democracy. Nor should we over-estimate their power and reach. It is the supporters of a People’s Vote who have been able to get peaceful crowds of a million on the streets and mobilise the young people whose voices have too often been left out or ignored in the Brexit debate.
“In a final say referendum campaign those who support staying in the EU, like me, will need to show how staying can be part of the solution to our country’s problems. A referendum should be a choice between two contrasting versions of change and will not be a rerun of what happened before.
“That is why a People’s Vote is the only fair and democratic way out of the crisis.”