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Theresa May to reject growing calls for second EU referendum



Theresa May is to reject the growing calls from MPs for a new Brexit referendum, claiming it would be a breach of faith with voters.

She will return to the Commons to deliver her latest Brexit statement to MPs, this time on last week’s humiliating EU summit in Brussels.

And as well as facing tough questions on her failure to win concessions on her Brexit deal, she will face increasing demands for a second referendum.

Tony Blair


Blair on May, Brexit and second referendum

But despite claims that her close allies are plotting a new poll, the prime minister will claim it would do irreparable damage and be deeply divisive.

She will face MPs after a weekend clash with Tony Blair in which she accused him of being an insult to the office of prime minister by campaigning for a new poll.


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Mr Blair hit back by accusing her of trying to “steamroller” MPs into accepting a bad Brexit deal and of threatening to have the UK “crash out” of the EU without a deal.

In her statement to MPs, Mrs May will declare: “Let us not break faith with the British people by trying to stage another referendum.

“Another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity of our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver.

“Another vote which would likely leave us no further forward than the last.

“And another vote which would further divide our country at the very moment we should be working to unite it.”

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After her statement to MPs, on Tuesday Mrs May will chair the first meeting of her Cabinet since surviving a no-confidence ballot of Conservative MPs by 200 votes to 117 last Wednesday.

With the prime minister now at the mercy of her Cabinet after the no-confidence vote, ministers are expected to demand better preparations for a no-deal Brexit.

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The prime minister could also be rocked this week by a motion of no confidence in her Government being tabled by Labour and the other Opposition parties.

But despite calls from pro-Remain Labour MPs who want a second referendum to table a motion without delay, Jeremy Corbyn is waiting until he believes he can win the vote.

And while Mr Corbyn remains reluctant to call for a second referendum, Labour grandee Dame Margaret Beckett MP said the case was now overwhelming.

“It is highly significant that Downing Street felt it had to issue these advance extracts of her statement to the House of Commons on Sunday night, because officials know the prospect of a People’s Vote is being discussed not just in Westminster but in the corridors of Whitehall too,” she said.

“The case for the public being given the final say is becoming so overwhelming that people from all parties and of none now recognise that this is the best way forward for our country.

“A new public vote would be different from the referendum in 2016 because we now know more about what Brexit means.

“There is no deal that can meet all the promises made for it – or one that is as good as the deal we already have in the EU.

“Any effort to force Brexit over the line without checking that it has the continued consent of the British people will only reinforce divisions and make sure this controversy lumbers on for many years to come.

“It is vital that leaders who care about the national interest begin preparations for a People’s Vote that can sort out the Brexit mess, give our politics the clarity it needs to move forward and our country the opportunity to move on from the bitter divisions of the past three years.”

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