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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Top Brexiteer appears to back second referendum on Britain’s EU membership

Nigel Farage said a second referendum would “kill off” the Remain campaign for a generation

Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage has said he is close to supporting a second referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Francois Lenoir/ Reuters
Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage has said he is close to supporting a second referendum on Britain's membership of the EU. Francois Lenoir/ Reuters

Nigel Farage, arguably the most well-known campaigner for ending Britain’s membership of the EU, has said he is warming to the idea of a second referendum on the issue.

In June 2016, the Leave vote won a narrow majority of 51.89 per cent resulting in repeated calls from high profile Remain campaigners to repeat the vote.

Mr Farage, who- like many Leave campaigners- has accused those wishing for a second referendum of sour grapes, appeared to change his mind during a television interview on Thursday.

The former UKIP leader said a new vote would end the Remain campaign because “the percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time around”.

He told Channel 5’s mid-morning show The Wright Stuff: "What is for certain is that the [Nick] Cleggs, the [Tony] Blairs, the [Lord] Adonises will never ever, ever, give up.

"They will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

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"So maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership... and we may just finish the whole thing off.”

Mr Farage’s comments were welcomed by many on the Remain side, including former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, who tweeted: “I agree with Nigel.”

Another prominent Brexiteer, businessman Aaron Banks, supported Mr Farage’s call, adding that a second referendum would stop Britain sleepwalking into what he called a “faux Brexit, in name only”.

Mr Banks said: “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.”

Results of a poll published last month said that 51 per cent of Britons backed remaining in the EU in comparison with 41 per cent who supported leaving. The remaining eight per cent said they would not vote or did not know.

The research, conducted by the BMG Research poll for The Independent, said it was the biggest margin in favour of remaining since the 2016 referendum.