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Thu, 4 June 2020

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Brexiteers launch Commons bid to kill off 'divisive' second EU referendum

Brexiteers launch Commons bid to kill off 'divisive' second EU referendum
2 min read

A cross-party band of Brexiteers will today launch a Commons bid to kill off the chances of a "divisive and expensive" second EU referendum.

More than 100 MPs have backed an amendment to today's motion on delaying Brexit seeking to stop a so-called "people's vote" from ever taking place.

Tabled by Tory eurosceptic Lee Rowley and backed by DUP deputy leader Nigel Dodds and Labour MPs Gareth Snell and Caroline Flint, it asks the Commons to endorse the view that "the result of the 2016 EU referendum should be respected and that a second EU referendum would be divisive and expensive, and therefore should not take place".

The bid comes as MPs prepare to vote on whether to ask the European Union for permission to delay Brexit beyond the planned departure date of 29 March.

In a night of high drama, the Commons on Wednesday voted to reject leaving the EU without a deal under any circumstances, inflicting a further humiliating defeat on the Prime Minister.

Today's motion says that unless Mrs May's Brexit deal - which has already been rejected twice by the Commons - is passed by 20 March, "the Government will seek to agree with the European Union a one-off extension of the period specified in Article 50 for a period ending on 30 June 2019".

It also warns MPs that it is "highly likely" the EU will demand a longer Brexit delay if they do not get behind Mrs May's deal.

Addressing the Commons on Wednesday night, the Prime Minister said: "Such an extension would undoubtedly require the UK to hold EU parliament elections in May 2019.

"I do not think that would be the right outcome, but the House needs to face up to the consequences of the decisions it has taken."

Mrs May's warning came as Conservative whips hit out at Downing Street after ministers were allowed to defy traditional party discipline and abstain on a bid to keep a no-deal Brexit in play.

Despite last-minute orders for Tory MPs to vote against a government motion in a bid to avoid completely ruling out a no-deal, 13 members of the government including Cabinet ministers David Gauke and Amber Rudd stayed away.

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