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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 24 June 2018

New campaign calls for ‘people’s vote’ on final Brexit deal

Supporters of the campaign say the British public, not MPs, should have the final say

The UK voted to exit the EU by 51.9% to 48.1% in June 2016, but the topic remains divisive. (Getty Images)
The UK voted to exit the EU by 51.9% to 48.1% in June 2016, but the topic remains divisive. (Getty Images)

A new campaign has been launched calling for the British public to have a say on the final Brexit deal between the UK and the European Union.

Called the People’s Vote campaign, it is a cross-party initiative supported by pro-EU MPs who want the country to have another referendum before Britain leaves the bloc.

A launch rally was held in north London on Sunday, with speakers from the Conservative Party, Labour, Liberal Democrats and the Green Party. Around 1,200 people attended the event, according to organisers.

Speaking at the rally, Green Party co-leader Caroline Lucas said: "We'll do everything we can in Parliament for a people's vote.

"This issue is far too important to to leave to the politicians."

Both the Conservatives and Labour have officially ruled out a second referendum.

The campaign is run by Open Britain, which is one of several anti-Brexit organisations which sprung up during the 2016 referendum.

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"Whether you think the government will negotiate a good deal or bad deal, Brexit is definitely a big deal," Open Britain’s executive director James McGrory told AFP.

"Brexit is not inevitable. What the government comes back with, not what was promised in the referendum, will be the real deal. It should not be a done deal.

"Brexit will affect everybody in the country, which is why it should not be left to 650 politicians to decide our future but 65 million people."

Actor Patrick Stewart, best known from Star Trek, is also backing the campaign. Speaking on the BBC's Andrew Marr show on Sunday, he said that the "terms and conditions" of Brexit were "quite unlike" how they were put forward during the referendum campaign.

He added that "history and emotion" led him to want to stay in the EU.

However, foreign secretary Boris Johnson shrugged off the campaign, insisting that the people have already spoken on Brexit.

"They voted with a substantial majority to leave the EU. We're now trying to deliver on that mandate from the people," Mr Johnson told Mr Marr.

"We'll be able to have, not only a gigantic free trade deal with our friends and partners across the channel, but we'll be able to boldly go to areas we perhaps neglected over the past five years."

The UK voted to exit the EU by 51.9% to 48.1% in June 2016.

Britain is due to leave the EU in March 2019. Both sides are hoping to reach a deal by October, which would allow enough time for ratification.