Former Cabinet minister backs legal bid to force second EU referendum

Posted On: 
11th March 2018

A former Tory Cabinet minister has backed a legal bid which could force a second EU referendum.

Dominic Grieve has been a thorn in the side of the Government over Brexit
Credit: 
Paul Heartfield

Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve said a law passed in 2011 gives the public the right to vote on the final Brexit deal.

He said the issue “should be examined in court” through a judicial review proposed by pro-EU campaign group Best for Britain.

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The case would revolve around their claim that the 2011 European Union Act guaranteed a ‘referendum lock’ on changes to EU treaties.

Brexit Secretary David Davis says ratification of the final withdrawal agreement is subject to a different law - the Constitutional Reform and Governance act of 2010 - which includes no such lock.

Mr Grieve said: “This court challenge raises an important constitutional issue.

“While alternative views on the meaning of the 2011 Act may be advanced it is entirely legitimate that this matter should be examined in court.

“Parliament provided for a referendum mechanism in the 2011 Act to ensure the public should be consulted on any significant EU treaty change.

“The terms of our departure and of transition are going to have major implications on our constitutional framework as and when they come into force.”

Best for Britain boss Eloise Todd said: “The 2011 Act brought in assurances that any significant changes to the UK’s relationship to the EU would be put to a public vote. This is the biggest change since we entered the EU.”

She added: “This is not about leave or remain, it’s about making a democratic choice according to our constitution, given that lots of people are very worried about Brexit.”