18/12/2018

Brexit: PM Rejects Possibility Of Second Referendum

Prime Minister Theresa May has dismissed the idea of a second Brexit referendum, sparking backlash from Northern Ireland's remain political parties.

Mrs May rejected the notion of a people's vote following last week's European Summit in Brussels, prompting some to hit out at the "shambles" of the 2016 referendum.

The meaningful vote on her proposed Brexit deal has been reschedules for January.

Alliance Party deputy leader Stephen Farry said the UK is in an "unprecedented political crisis".

"The Prime Minister needs to be clear that if a negotiated Brexit is to occur then this Withdrawal Agreement, including the backstop, is the only option. Right across the House of Commons, MPs need to stop chasing delusions.

"The only coherent alternative is a second referendum. The Prime Minister's increased emphasis on ruling this out is both arrogant and foolhardy.

"Democracy is a fluid concept. There is strong and consistent evidence that a majority of voters do not want Brexit. More young people have joined the electoral register. For others the lies of 2016 and the shambles since, plus the risks of a no deal have changed their minds.
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"It would be astonishing if the UK continued down a path that will damage its economy and society when there are such indications that this does not have democratic support.

"A People's Vote remains Alliance's first preference out of this mess."

Meanwhile, Brexit spokesperson for the SDLP, Claire Hanna MLA, said many throughout Northern Ireland have grown disillusioned with the government following the referendum.

"Many people had their faith broken the day 'Leave' decided to run a disingenuous campaign built on untruths," the MLA for south Belfast said.

"The SDLP have said repeatedly that we will support any opportunity to stop Brexit including another referendum, as the fact remains that the UK Parliament is in deadlock with no majority for any form of Brexit, and no pathway to resolving this.

"The problem isn't with the current deal on the table, but with Brexit itself. There is no magical way to reconcile Brexiteer promises with the UK Government's legal obligations to the island if Ireland.

"In this context it is appropriate to go back to the public on how to proceed. More democracy cannot be undemocratic.

"It is nonetheless essential that we bank the backstop. It is our ultimate insurance policy and must apply in all scenarios."



(JG)

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