Simon Robertson, former Rolls-Royce chairman and Conservative party donor, has joined prominent figures from across the political spectrum, including Labour ex-Premier Tony Blair and Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and Tory MP Dominic Grieve, calling for a second referendum on Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union.
Robertson is concerned that the people will not have the final say on the EU divorce deal Britain is now heading towards.
“I think it is complete balderdash to say the people have spoken, therefore you can’t go back,” Robertson told the Observer.
“The people can speak again — why can’t we have another vote on it? We had a brilliant deal with Europe. We had an opt-out on ever-closer union,” he argued.
Robertson’s comments came just as a debate in the Labour Party is building up to a crucial phase ahead of its annual conference in Liverpool next month with opinion polls suggesting that a hefty 78 percent of party members and most trade union support a new Brexit referendum.
“As the Tories continue to bungle Brexit and risk Britain crashing out with no deal, we will, like other organizations from the Labour movement, be asking our members what they think about the issue – and supporting the Labour leadership to defeat this disastrous Tory Brexit in Parliament if it fails Labour’s six tests,” said Laura Parker, a national coordinator for Momentum, a left-wing grassroots campaign group within the Labour Party.
In March 2017, Labour's Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer set out six conditions for backing Theresa May's final Brexit deal, which include guarantees for any withdrawal agreement to deliver the same benefits as the single market and customs union, and a fair migration system.
Other conditions call for a strong and collaborative future relationship with the EU, fair management of migration in the interest of the economy and communities, national security guarantees and Britain’s capacity to tackle cross-border crime.
According to the so-called Chequers plan, adopted by the British government in July, the UK would retain close links with, and access to, the EU single market for goods by following a common rulebook with the EU.
Brussels, however, rejected the proposal.