Referendum on final Brexit deal is 'possible', admits Government minister

Posted On: 
7th June 2018

A referendum could be held on the final deal Theresa May strikes with Brussels, a Government minister has admitted.

Campaigners want a referendum on the final Brexit deal.
PA Images

Foreign Office minister Alan Duncan said it would "just be possible to ask the people" for their opinion on the agreement.

But he ruled out any prospect of a second referendum on whether Britain should be a member of the European Union.

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His comments were leapt on by pro-EU campaigners demanding a so-called "people's vote" on the final deal.

Speaking in Berlin, Sir Alan - who supported Remain in the original referendum - said: "As for the second myth, another referendum is not going to happen either. If it did, it would be significantly more politically divisive than the first referendum and it would create last political distrust.

"It would, I suppose, just be possible to ask the people in a referendum if they liked the exit deal or notm but that would mean the choice would be between the exit deal on offer or no deal at all.

"It would not in reality offer people the option of reversing the original decision to leave the EU."

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, of the People’s Vote campaign, said: "Alan Duncan is absolutely right to back the idea of a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal. As a Foreign Office minister, and deputy to Boris Johnson, he must know as well as anybody what an utter shambles Brexit has become.

"The negotiations are a mess, the Cabinet is in chaos, and Parliament is paralysed by party political game-playing. Alan Duncan seems to have finally recognised that the best way out of this quagmire is for the people to decide whether the deal is good enough."

Darren Jones, Labour MP and a member of the Best for Britain, campaign group, said: "Alan Duncan has joined the growing tide of MPs who have recognised that the momentous decision to leave the EU on the Government’s terms – after months of back-and-forth, uncertainty, and indecision – must be put to the people. 

"And though Alan Duncan has tried to shut the door on that vote giving people the option to remain, the floodgates are now well and truly open.

"The public don’t want or deserve a false choice, gamed by the Government. They want a real say. That is why, once the Prime Minister has agreed a deal with Brussels and we finally know what Brexit will look like, that deal must be put to the people."