The ranks of leading British politicians and businesspeople calling for a second referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, such as Tony Blair, Nick Clegg, Richard Branson and Andrew Adonis, were joined on January 11 by an unlikely ally, former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
Speaking on "The Wright Stuff," Mr. Farage, long considered the UK's most ardent supporter of the UK's exit from the European Union announced he was changing his position on the necessity of a second referendum which he believed would confirm the original result and silence so-called "Remoaners" — supporters of the Remain campaign who want the result overturned — "for a generation."
Maybe, just maybe, we should have a second referendum on EU membership. It would kill off the issue for a generation once and for all. https://t.co/FQxniMi5MA— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) 11 January 2018
So Nigel Farage wants a referendum on Mrs May’s Brexit deal. I agree. Bring it on!— Andrew Adonis (@Andrew_Adonis) 11 January 2018
So far calls for a rerun of the vote that has led to Britain extricating itself from the European Union have come from the losing side, the "Remainers" who typically belong to the Labour and Liberal Democrat Parties as well as a rebellious anti-Brexit group of Conservative MPs who have already voted against Prime Minister Theresa May's EU Withdrawal Bill on December 14. The calls have grown louder as difficulties in negotiations with Brussels have intensified throughout 2017 and led prominent members of the business community in London to consider the costs of a possible "no-deal scenario."
The polls have failed to show a definitive swing of public opinion in favor of remaining in the EU, contrary to what prominent Remain campaigners have claimed.
The question of holding another referendum due to the closeness of the result has been a fraught one even some Remain campaigners. According to YouGov, Remainers calling for a second referendum face the added obstacle of so-called "Re-Leavers," Remain voters who accepted the results and believe the Government should proceed with the policy. YouGov's polling work carried out in mid-2017 showed that this added element takes support for Brexit in the UK to around 68 percent.
Prominent Guardian columnist Owen Jones cautioned his fellow Remainers on January 3 that a second referendum in which the Remain camp won would be open to the charge of having subverted the original democratic decision while a repeated Leave victory would make the process of Brexit all the more irreversible.
Polling conducted since the 2016 EU Membership vote has consistently shown the British public more or less evenly split on the question of leaving the European Union. The polling aggregator "What the UK Thinks" has tracked opinion on the issue since 2012 and showed support for a hypothetical Remain vote narrowly ahead of Leave for much of 2017, approximately since the invocation of Article 50 which formally declares the UK's intent to exit the EU. As of September 2017 however, support for Remain and Leave were tied once again. The movement of the polls seemed to mirror that of the previous year when, beginning around the time of the referendum itself, the Leave camp remained ahead on 51 percent support roughly until the end of the year.