Brexit – another referendum?


Sir, – David Cameron, the then-prime minister, campaigning for Remain in Britain, promised that the referendum decision would be final, not least in an attempt to discourage tactical voting. Significantly, no leading supporter of Brexit is ever quoted as having said before the vote that it would be final, and indeed Boris Johnson suggested the exact opposite.

How credible is it to suppose that if the vote had gone the other way, 52 per cent for Remain, 48 per cent for Leave, that any of Ukip, the Tory Eurosceptics, or the Brexit-supporting part of the UK press would have accepted the decision as final, and folded their tents, rather than press for an early re-run, in the belief that with one more push they would do it?

At all events, it is very difficult to interpret the actual narrow result as a popular mandate for creating a wide gulf between the UK and the EU, such as would be involved in a hard Brexit.

So, should that be the negotiated outcome, there is surely a very strong case for consulting the people again.

The difference between the way the UK and the EU do their business is that on major EU decisions each member state must agree, whereas, as we have seen in the case of Brexit, the views of a majority of the people in constituent parts of the UK such as Scotland and Northern Ireland can be overridden by a clear majority in England, which has 85 per cent of the population.

If the Brexit decision is to be carried through without a further referendum, it surely requires that fuller account be taken of the views in Scotland and Northern Ireland as well as the obligation to uphold the Belfast Agreement, as reflected in the UK commitment underlying the EU decision in December to move from phase one to phase two of the negotiations. – Yours, etc,




Sir, – Another referendum on Brexit? At that rate, they’ll have to make it the best of three, if they want a definitive result.

In any case, is everyone absolutely positive that the EU, particularly French president Emmanuel Macron, with his agenda of intensified integration, really wants the UK back in?

The lesson for our political class, whose role above all is to avoid events which discommode their economic masters, is not to pursue too relentlessly neoliberal economic agendas, as happened in both the US and UK, or voters will use what tiny powers they have to displace them. – Yours, etc,


Dublin 8.