Brexit: Leave campaign chief backs second EU referendum, saying it is 'the only option'

'The only option now is to go back to the polls and let the people shout from the rooftops their support of a true Brexit,' says Arron Banks

Chris Baynes
Thursday 11 January 2018 15:06 GMT
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Nigel Farage thinks there should be a second referendum

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Arron Banks, the co-founder of the Leave.EU campaign, has backed Nigel Farage’s suggestion that there should be a second referendum on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.

The businessman accused Theresa May’s government of “backsliding” on the issue and said the UK must “act radically now” or it would “sleepwalk into a faux Brexit”.

“The only option now is to go back to the polls and let the people shout from the rooftops their support of a true Brexit,” Mr Banks added.

His comments come after former Ukip leader Mr Farage suggested a second vote would put an end to “whinging and whining” by Remain supporters and “kill” the debate for a generation.

“What is for certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never ever ever give up,” he said during an appearance on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff. “They will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

“So maybe, just maybe, I’m reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership.”

Downing Street ruled out a fresh vote on EU membership but bookies cut the odds of a second poll in 2019 to 5-1.

Mr Banks said the call for a second referendum came “after 18 months of backsliding by a weak, incompetent prime minister egged on by her Remain entourage”.

“The government have dragged their heels because they haven’t had the integrity to implement the will of the people,” he added. “Just because we are leaving does not mean we are doing so.

“If we do not act radically now, we will sleepwalk into a faux Brexit, in name only. True Brexiteers have been backed into a corner and the only option now is to go back to the polls and let the people shout from the rooftops their support of a true Brexit.

“Let the people denounce plans for greater European integration, the European Army and porous borders which facilitates the free movement of jihadis.”


Arron Banks said a second referendum was "the only option" 

 Arron Banks said a second referendum was "the only option" 
 (PA)

Mr Banks claimed Leave would “win by a landslide” in a second referendum.

Prominent Remainers backed calls for a fresh vote and told Mr Farage to “bring it on”.

Labour MP Chuka Umunna, a leading supporter of the Open Britain campaign for close ties with the EU, said: “For perhaps the first time in his life, Nigel Farage is making a valid point.

“In a democracy like ours, the British people have every right to keep an open mind about Brexit.

“If the Brexit that is delivered does not match up to the promises of Leave campaigners – with no sign of £350 million extra per week for the NHS but a whopping great divorce bill of £39 billion – then everyone is entitled to ask if this is the right choice for our country.”

Labour peer Lord Adonis said: “So Nigel Farage wants a referendum on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. I agree. Bring it on.”

Lib Dem Brexit spokesman Tom Brake said: "Tony Blair and Nigel Farage aren't two people I'd normally like to be put in a group with, but on this issue they are speaking sense.

"But Farage shouldn't be so confident of winning. People are now far more aware of the costs of Brexit and the fabrications of the Leave campaign."

Lord Malloch Brown, chairman of Best for Britain, which opposes Brexit, said: "A second referendum: my message is clear - bring it on.

"This is something that the country needs. Every day we see the disaster of Brexit as we see its impact on our economy, jobs, communities and our society."

Prime Minister Theresa May has previously insisted a second referendum would be a betrayal of voters and Downing Street said there would be no re-run.

The PM's official spokesman said: "We will not be having a second referendum."

Coral cut the odds on another EU referendum before the end of 2019 to 5-1 from 10-1. William Hill put the odds of another vote by the end of 2018 at 7/1 and by April 2019 at 5/1.

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