Clock tick­ing

The New European - - Agenda -

out­side the EU; an­other ref­er­en­dum; and leav­ing with no-deal. This might at least in­di­cate MPS’ most favoured op­tion.

Sup­port­ers of a Peo­ple’s Vote might take heart from the more than 30 Labour MPS and nine Tories who pub­licly back the idea, along­side Lib­eral Democrats, SNP, Plaid Cymru and Green party sup­port, and the fact that many more do so pri­vately and may opt for this out­come as other op­tions are elim­i­nated. But they also should note that par­lia­ment can­not com­pel the gov­ern­ment to sup­port this, which will re­quire leg­is­la­tion and there­fore a ma­jor­ity to pass the nec­es­sary stages in both houses. Re­al­is­ti­cally, Labour front bench sup­port would also be needed for Labour MPS to back a vote through all those stages.

The lat­est Yougov polling, which un­like in 2016 can be weighted against the re­cent pre­vi­ous vote, are en­cour­ag­ing for pro-euro­peans. Re­main vs. May’s Deal breaks 62:38% in Re­main’s favour; Re­main beats no-deal 57:43%; while a more com­plex three-way ques­tion pro­duces Re­main: 54%; no-deal: 28%; May’s deal: 18%. But plac­ing no-deal on a bal­lot paper risks cre­at­ing a man­date no con­ceiv­able gov­ern­ment at West­min­ster would want.

Will 16- and 17-year-olds, al­lowed to vote in the Scot­tish ref­er­en­dum, get a say on their fu­ture? Should the three mil­lion Brits res­i­dent over­seas for more than 15 years, and de­nied a vote in 2016, be en­fran­chised? Might we re­peat 2016 with Ir­ish and qual­i­fy­ing Com­mon­wealth cit­i­zens vot­ing, but not the more than two mil­lion free-move­ment work­ers who pay taxes – £2,300 more an­nu­ally than the av­er­age Brit – and vote in lo­cal elec­tions? Re­main­ers need to think care­fully about how an­other ref­er­en­dum – the third on Europe and the 13th in our his­tory – might work, but ab­sent ap­proval of the With­drawal Agree­ment, the clock must be stopped.

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