May’s hostility to new Brexit vote is ‘nonsensical’, warns Bruton


British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS
British Prime Minister Theresa May. Photo: REUTERS

Theresa May has again dismissed calls for a second referendum on Britain’s decision to leave the EU – a stance described as “nonsensical” by former taoiseach John Bruton.

The British Prime Minister claimed yesterday it would be a “gross betrayal of our democracy” to have another vote.

She said “millions came out to have their say” in the June 2016 vote that set Brexit in motion.

Her embattled government has faced increasingly strident calls for a second vote once the terms of Britain’s future relations with the EU are known.

Mrs May used an article in the ‘Sunday Telegraph’ to defend her “Chequers proposal” that would maintain some ties with the EU and said she would not be pushed around by EU negotiators.

“I will not be pushed into accepting compromises on the Chequers proposals that are not in our national interest,” Mrs May wrote.



Former Taoiseach John Bruton. Photo: Tom BurkeFormer Taoiseach John Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke

Former Taoiseach John Bruton. Photo: Tom Burke

“The coming months will be critical in shaping the future of our country and I am clear about my mission.”

Britain is expected to leave the EU in March and enter a transitional phase.

However, former taoiseach John Bruton has roundly condemned Mrs May’s argument over a second Brexit vote.

He said her description of another referendum as a “gross betrayal of democracy” was “nonsensical” and that insisted that democracy allowed voters to change their minds.

“If she believes that, she does not understand democracy very well,” said Mr Bruton. “She seems to suggest that democrats, having made a decision, should not ever change their minds. In fact, democracy is all about creating mechanisms whereby voters can change their minds.

“Democracy allows voters to change their minds, usually through parliamentary elections.

“Totalitarian or dictatorial regimes, who do not hold regular elections, do not a have an inbuilt mechanism for changing their minds. This makes them brittle. Democracy, in contrast, is flexible.”

The UK’s former Brexit secretary, David Davis, accused Mrs May of opening the door to the EU for any more Brexit concessions. Speaking on the BBC’s ‘Andrew Marr Show’, he claimed that the proposal would leave Britain in a position where the EU would dictate the rules.

He said there was still time and opportunity to talk about a free trade deal and insisted that there had to be alternatives to the Chequers proposal.

Mr Davis also said he believed the Northern Ireland Border issue was not as complex as it was now being made out to be.

He said it was a “much more straightforward issue to deal with” if both the UK and Ireland chose to put the political will behind doing so.

Meanwhile, an influential Remain-voting former minister, Tory MP Nick Boles, who had previously backed the Chequers proposal, has announced that he now opposes what he called “this humiliation”.

Irish Independent

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