Campaign group remains optimistic that no deal Brexit can be avoided

The campaign group that came up with the idea of a confirmatory referendum to break the Brexit impasse, remains optimistic that a way will be found to prevent the UK crashing out of the EU without a deal on 12 April.

Speaking after the defeat of indicative votes in the Commons, New Europeans founder and CEO Roger Casale told EUToday, "There are really only two options left for Theresa May. On the one hand, she can accept a compromise that would see her deal ratified by MPs in return for a further ratification in a confirmatory referendum. On the other, the UK will leave the EU without a deal."

The New Europeans compromise proposal was made in an open letter to Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and the EU on 4 February 2019. 

Subsequently, two Labour MPs, Peter Kyle and Phil Wilson, took up the idea and they have building consensus in the House of Commons behind this approach ever since.

In the debate in the House of Commons, the Kyle-Wilson motion received the highest number of votes of any of the proposals debated - a total of 280 in favour, but was nevertheless narrowly defeated by 12 votes.

The result followed intense lobbying by New Europeans and others of Conservative and Labour MPs who had previously abstained on the Kyle-Wilson motion. 

Several MPs including Stephen Kinnock MP, Andrew Gwynne MP and Tracy Brabin MP (Labour) and Richard Harrington, Ed Vaizey, Margot James, Steve Brine, Mark  Garnier (Conservatives) as well as Nick Boles (now Independent) also changed sides.

Commenting on the increased support, Casale said:"It is very encouraging that MPs have listened and taken on board the powerful testimonies of some of #the5million people whose lives are #InLimbo because of #Brexit.

A compromise does mean being ready to do something you otherwise would not be prepared to do of the sake of an outcome that we all have a stake in."

We are disappointed however that Shadow Cabinet members such as Ian Lavery MP and Jon Trickett MP failed to comply with the whip and abstained."

Richard Harrington, the Conservative MP for Watford, who resigned as Business Minister in order to be able to support the search for a way to break the Brexit impasse and who now also support the #compromise proposal said:

"I am supporting a confirmatory referendum because the country's split, Parliament's split. Whatever happens, a large number of people are going to say they feel betrayed by another large amount of people, whichever way it's decided.

So I think, much as I haven't supported it up to now, that the best way of dealing with it is for parliament to decide, because that's what people expect us to do and that is what we are paid to do. 

But because of the turmoil and the disruption and the disagreement within the country I think it's the right thing for the public to confirm that because it's almost three years since they had the chance to speak."

The compromise proposal is expected to return to the House of Commons on Wed. 3 April as MPs continue to search for ways to escape the prospect of a no deal Brexit on 12 April.

New Europeans made the proposal that the Brexit deal should be backed by MPs in return for a confirmatory referendum secured through a sunset clause in the legislation in an open letter to Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn and the EU on 4 February.

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Martin Banks

Martin Banks

Martin Banks is a highly qualified journalist with many years experience of working within the EU institutions. He is an occasional, and highly valued, contributor to EU today, writing on a wide variety of issues.

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