STREAMING NOW: Watch Now

UK flirts with second referendum to escape eternal Brexit chaos

It was only months ago that the mere utterance of a second referendum would be palmed off by the bulk of Bri...

Posted: Dec 17, 2018 11:50 AM
Updated: Dec 17, 2018 11:50 AM

It was only months ago that the mere utterance of a second referendum would be palmed off by the bulk of Britain's political class as wishful thinking by "remoaners" who voted to stay in the European Union.

But as UK Prime Minister Theresa May ended her most tumultuous week since coming into power, and parliament remained gridlocked over her withdrawal agreement, some prominent Conservative party politicians were reportedly arguing that the only way out of this political impasse is to bring the question back to the people.

Brexit

Continents and regions

Elections and campaigns

Europe

European Union

Government and public administration

Government organizations - Intl

Northern Europe

Political Figures - Intl

Politics

Referendums

Theresa May

United Kingdom

What was once considered unthinkable is now, according to the Sunday Times, being discussed, with some of May's most senior allies preparing for a second referendum.

Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington, May's de facto deputy, held talks with opposition Labour party lawmakers in a bid to build a cross-party coalition for a second people's vote, the paper reported. He is part of a group of senior ministers -- Philip Hammond, Amber Rudd, David Gauke and Greg Clark -- who believe a new referendum is the only way to break the parliamentary gridlock, it added.

The Sunday Times also reported May's Chief of Staff Gavin Barwell told Cabinet ministers that a second referendum was "the only way forward." Both men later distanced themselves from the report on Sunday, with Barwell taking to Twitter to deny the claims.

May also criticized the report, saying in a statement that "another vote which would do irreparable damage to the integrity our politics, because it would say to millions who trusted in democracy, that our democracy does not deliver."

The Prime Minister's statement came after she hit out on Sunday at her predecessor Tony Blair's own calls for a second referendum. May condemned his call as an "insult to the office he once held and the people he once served." In response, Blair said he was speaking in the national interest and in the interests of democracy.

"Far from being anti-democratic it would be the opposite, as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying," he said according to Press Association. "What is irresponsible, however, is to try to steamroller MPs into accepting a deal they genuinely think is a bad one with the threat that if they do not fall into line, the government will have the country crash out without a deal."

But even if May and the opposition leader of the Labour Party Jeremy Corbyn are united in their distaste for a second referendum -- at least publicly -- it is increasingly looking like a viable option.

British bookmaker William Hill estimated the probability of a second referendum at 54%. "We think she (May) is out of options and the most palatable of the two remaining options (which includes revoking Article 50) is a people's vote," spokesperson Rupert Adams told CNN.

Those odds began to shorten for a second plebiscite on Monday, when the European Court of Justice ruled that Britain could cancel Brexit without the permission of the other 27 EU members. That decision came as news filtered out that May would abort a parliamentary vote on a withdrawal agreement she drafted with the EU, after it became clear she would lose the vote "by a significant margin."

The embattled leader then staggered through a vote of no confidence, triggered by hardline Brexiteers. She survived the vote by 200 votes to 117, but what it revealed was one third of her MPs don't support her Brexit plans -- and more than 170 of those who publicly stated they backed her are on the government payroll.

Risk of no deal

Amid this political crisis, which has been called the "greatest failure of British statecraft since Suez," it's unclear how, or if, either side has shifted public opinion.

By Thursday, Brussels had refused to give May concessions to make her package palatable to British lawmakers. Brexit is more deadlocked than ever; and with just over 100 days before the March 29, 2019 deadline to leave, time to find an alternative to her deal is vanishing. What this risks is crashing out of the EU without a deal, which experts agree would be catastrophic for the British economy.

The Bank of England warned in November that such a scenario would sink the UK economy into recession.

Leaving with no deal means dropping out of the legal and regulatory frameworks that have governed the UK's trade, and much of its internal economy, for more than 40 years. It could disrupt food and manufacturing supplies, with many British exports losing their accreditation to be sold in the EU. The government has also warned planes could be grounded, with up to six months of disruption at some ports.

Those opposed to a second vote warn it could reignite the divisions seen during the 2016 referendum, when reports of hate crimes surged. But in a country so bitterly divided, and facing political deadlock and economic turmoil, politicians may deem it to be a price worth paying.

West Lafayette
Few Clouds
68° wxIcon
Hi: 86° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 68°
Kokomo
Clear
62° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 62°
Rensselaer
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Fowler
Scattered Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 61°
Williamsport
Clear
67° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 65°
Feels Like: 67°
Crawfordsville
Scattered Clouds
60° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 66°
Feels Like: 60°
Frankfort
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 83° Lo: 62°
Feels Like: 61°
Delphi
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 85° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Monticello
Broken Clouds
63° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 63°
Feels Like: 63°
Logansport
Clear
61° wxIcon
Hi: 84° Lo: 61°
Feels Like: 61°
Warm-up again with increasing humidity & risk of storms.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 75862

Reported Deaths: 3069
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion16088730
Lake7688278
Elkhart492685
Allen4002163
St. Joseph357883
Hamilton2829104
Vanderburgh202213
Hendricks1927108
Cass18029
Johnson1789119
Porter135539
Clark128749
Tippecanoe123811
Madison100665
LaPorte93130
Howard91365
Kosciusko86812
Bartholomew81747
Floyd80948
Marshall79323
Monroe76631
Delaware74552
Dubois70812
Vigo69911
Noble68829
Boone68746
Hancock68339
Jackson5965
Warrick58830
Shelby56527
LaGrange56310
Grant52930
Dearborn51228
Morgan49334
Clinton4444
Henry40620
Wayne38510
White37611
Montgomery35921
Lawrence35227
Harrison34823
Decatur34132
Putnam3128
Daviess27720
Miami2772
Scott27210
Jasper2552
Greene25434
Franklin24615
DeKalb2384
Gibson2314
Jennings22712
Steuben2133
Ripley2138
Carroll1962
Fayette1947
Perry18713
Posey1790
Starke1787
Wells1742
Orange17424
Fulton1722
Wabash1703
Jefferson1672
Knox1610
Whitley1556
Tipton14312
Washington1421
Sullivan1381
Spencer1373
Clay1245
Huntington1243
Randolph1244
Newton12010
Adams1092
Owen991
Jay920
Rush854
Pulaski811
Fountain742
Brown741
Blackford652
Ohio656
Benton640
Pike590
Vermillion580
Switzerland530
Parke511
Martin480
Crawford450
Union410
Warren241
Unassigned0206

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events