Diplo­mats’ hopes rise for an­other Brexit poll in UK

The Irish Mail on Sunday - - NEWS - By John Dren­nan

HOPES are grow­ing within Ir­ish po­lit­i­cal and di­plo­matic cir­cles that a cross-party re­volt by Re­main mem­bers of the Labour and Con­ser­va­tive par­ties could mean that the UK may hold a sec­ond ref­er­en­dum on leav­ing the Eu­ro­pean Union.

The belief has been in­ten­si­fied by a ma­jor YouGov poll which re­vealed that British vot­ers would back re­main­ing in the EU by

‘The Yes side is go­ing on the front foot’

53% to 47% if a ref­er­en­dum were held now.

Sig­nif­i­cantly, 45% want a say on the out­come of the Brexit ne­go­ti­a­tions, with 34% op­posed. The YouGov sur­vey of more than 10,000 adults shows more than half of vot­ers want a say on any fi­nal de­ci­sion.

Some 77% of Labour vot­ers said they would back re­main­ing in the EU, com­pared to 23% who want to leave. Most (63%) sup­port a ref­er­en­dum on the exit deal, com­pared with 18% who said they do not.

As the Con­ser­va­tive party re­mains mired in con­tro­versy and Labour con­tin­ues to take an un­cer­tain path, Ir­ish diplo­mats and politi­cians be­lieve that the tide is turn­ing.

The vice chair of the in­flu­en­tial British Ir­ish Par­lia­men­tary Assem­bly, Sen­a­tor Frank Feighan said: ‘We are in a very com­pli­cated sce­nario. There has to be a de­bate between the two wings of Labour and the two wings of the Tory party be­fore there can be a de­bate between the two par­ties.’ Mr Feighan said: ‘There are grow­ing in­di­ca­tions in both par­ties that the Yes side is go­ing on the front foot. It is del­i­cate and not for us to in­ter­vene, but se­ri­ous fig­ures like Michael He­sel­tine and Labour peers are chal­leng­ing the Brexit wing in both par­ties. The push­back is on.’

Mr Feighan said: ‘Pub­lic opin­ion has turned. Brexit was never about Europe, it was about unit­ing the Tories and that hasn’t worked so the ra­tio­nale be­hind it is gone.’

Fine Gael deputy Fer­gus O’Dowd, also a key fig­ure in the group, said: ‘Theresa May is tak­ing over a lead­er­ship role since she gave Boris the boot. The move is to a more mod­er­ate Brexit’.

Neale Rich­mond, Fine Gael spokesper­son on Brexit, said: ‘The folly of Brexit is in­di­cated by the on­go­ing mas­sive in­ter­nal bat­tle within both of the main par­ties over the last two and a half years.’

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