With the possibility of a No-deal Brexit looming, calls for a second referendum have gained momentum, and Members of Parliament on both sides support a second referendum dubbed the “People’s vote.”
Brexit negotiations have been marred by a series of mishaps from missed deadlines between October to November, which inevitably delayed Brexit talks with the European Union, to the resignation of 10 MPs from Prime Minister Theresa May’s government over a falling out in Brexit negotiations.
MP Anna Soubry of the Conservative Party is one of 15 Tories branded the “Brexit Mutineers” due to their vote against the bill. She remains an ardent “Remainer” and is convinced of its failure. “This will be the biggest mistake our country has ever made,” Soubry said, as quoted by The Guardian. “The young will never forgive my party.”
Soubry led the People’s Vote March in London on Oct. 20, which became the largest London had seen since 2003 when 700,000 came out to protest the invasion of Iraq. Former Prime Minister Tony Blair is among the most prominent voices calling for the second referendum as he urges Britain to seek “a way out from the present rush over the cliff’s edge.”
Blair has also argued the necessity of a second referendum, as this time the populous is more aware of the logistics and difficulties surrounding Brexit. However, the Conservative Party has largely viewed the idea of a second referendum as “undermining democracy,” while May staunchly condemned Blair for his comments. “For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served,” she said as quoted by the BBC. “We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision.”
Labour Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn found himself at odds with his own party and other members of the opposition when he announced his support in moving forward with Brexit, arguing a second referendum wouldn’t pass parliament. The Scottish National Party, Liberal Democrats, Green Party and Plaid Cymru all demanded Corbyn initiate a vote of no confidence against May to open up the possibility of a snap election or a second referendum.
May recently faced down a vote of no confidence within her own party after she postponed the hearing on her deal in the Commons to Jan. 15. While she survived with 200 votes against 117, the no-confidence vote has revealed one third of May’s MPs don’t support her plans for Brexit.
As May’s Brexit plan is expected to fail, support for the Norway Plus model Brexit has emerged. The model would mimic Norway’s relations with the EU through trade membership in the European Free Trade Association and the European Economic Area, which would give the UK access to the single market.
The Norway Plus deal would free the UK of the jurisdiction of the European Court of Justice, however, the UK would have to abide by the laws and regulations of the EFTA while having less influence than in its current position in the EU in shaping legislation. The Norway Plus model, with the adoption of a customs union, would resolve the longstanding border issue between Ireland and Northern Ireland as well.