WATCH: Amber Rudd says second Brexit referendum ‘plausible’ if Theresa May’s deal fails

Posted On: 
20th December 2018

A second Brexit referendum could be "plausible" if Theresa May’s deal falls, according to Amber Rudd.

Amber Rudd said there was a "plausible argument" for a second Brexit referendum
ITV Peston

The Work and Pensions Secretary became the first Cabinet minister to openly suggest another referendum could be the best way to break the deadlock after accepting it will be “very difficult” for the Prime Minister's agreement to win approval from MPs.

Her comments put her at odds with Downing Street, which has repeatedly insisted that there will not be another so-called "people's vote".

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Speaking to ITV's Peston show, Ms Rudd said: “I have said I don’t want a people’s vote or a referendum in general but if Parliament absolutely fail to reach a consensus I could see there would be a plausible argument for it.

“But I think it is incumbent on MPs to find the centre ground in Parliament and try and find where the majority is there, because quite frank, I don’t think the majority of people let alone Brenda want to be asked again how to vote.”



Ms Rudd also defied Mrs May by backing the idea of so-called "indicative votes" in the Commons for MPs to reveal which options they would prefer if Mrs May’s deal fails to pass.

“I quite like the idea of indicative votes because it would flush out where people’s majority is, so people who hold on to the idea of one option or another would see there’s no majority for that so they need to move to their next preference.”

She added: “We would hopefully be able to find where the compromise and the consensus is for a majority of support.”

Downing Street have repeatedly warned MPs the UK would be prepared to walk away from negotiations if their deal fails to pass when MPs vote on it next month.

On Tuesday, ministers allocated a further £2bn in funding to government departments to plan for no-deal contingencies, and put 3,500 troops on standby to help.

Labour MP Owen Smith, a supporter of the pro-EU Best for Britain group, said Ms Rudd's comments were a "massive moment" for the campaign.

"Amber Rudd may be the first Tory Cabinet member to say she'd rather have a people's vote than allow a catastrophic No Deal to unfold, but she won't be the last.

"These minister have seen the real assessments of what No Deal would look like for Britain and they know we can't ever afford to go there. I just hope they can persuade Mrs May to see sense too."