Nigel Farage threatens to boycott second Brexit referendum after Corbyn backs new poll

Ex-Ukip leader says it would be an 'outrage' if Remain was on ballot paper for fresh vote

Lizzy Buchan
Political Correspondent
Tuesday 26 February 2019 11:43 GMT
Nigel Farage says he would rather 'go on holiday' than vote in a second Brexit referendum

Nigel Farage has threatened to boycott a second referendum, saying he would "rather go on holiday" than vote if the choice was between Theresa May’s deal and remaining in the EU.

The former Ukip leader argued there would be a “bigger Leave vote” in a new referendum than in 2016 and condemned the idea of a fresh poll with the prime minister's blueprint and Remain on the ballot paper.

His comments came after Jeremy Corbyn offered a major boost to campaigners for a Final Say by announcing Labour would back another public vote if its softer Brexit plan is defeated this week.

Shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry then went further, saying the ballot paper must offer a choice between the prime minister's deal and remain - rather than a no-deal option.

Mr Farage famously said in 2016 that he would back a second referendum if Remain won by a narrow margin as he claimed a 48-52 result would be seen as "unfinished business" by his side.

The leading Brexiteer told Sky News: “I think we would win it but I tell you what I do resist is the very idea that it appears Emily Thornberry is putting forward - that the referendum would be between Remain and Ms May’s deal, which is ‘Brexit in name only’.

“I have to tell you in those circumstances I wouldn’t campaign and I wouldn’t vote, because it wouldn’t offer me Brexit.”

Asked if he would abstain, he said: “I would go on holiday. It would be an outrage. Remain shouldn’t even be on the ballot paper.

“But if we are forced into this, it would have to be Remain or a clean Leave."

It comes after Mr Corbyn sought to head off further defections to the breakaway Independent Group by announcing Labour would back another public vote if its own Brexit plan is defeated this week.

But splits emerged within hours of his announcement, with anonymous sources briefing Ms Thornberry "misspoke" when she said the referendum was likely to be Ms May’s deal vs Remain.

Ms Thornberry posted on Twitter: "I've seen some nonsense that I 'misspoke' earlier on a public vote.

"Pretty hard to misspeak identically in 10 interviews, but for clarity: if Theresa May won't accept our deal, then the public must decide: do we accept whatever deal she gets through, or do we Remain? Got it?"

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