As the Brexiteers in our Government keep on explaining, the British public made a decision nearly two years ago to leave the EU and on that basis their decision was final and there is no going back. Indeed on 30th July 2018 the Prime Ministers spokesman stated that there would be “no second referendum in any circumstances”. Yet this is inconsistent with the views previously expressed of many of the people who today would criticise her if she did a U turn on such a matter. As Jacob Rees Mogg stated to the Sun newspaper six weeks ago on the evening before the second anniversary of the referendum ‘Rees-Mogg said there was no reason for another referendum, and said the chances of a bad deal which left Britain in a “semi-vassal” state were now low. He said this was in part because Mrs May would be unable to secure a majority in the Commons for such an arrangement.’ This is despite his speech in 2011 stated clearly that a referendum after the negotiation is completed would make sense.
As John Redwood stated in his blog a few days ago on 6th August “I have never supported two referendums on whether to Leave or Stay within the EU, contrary to some misleading stories. Years ago before the Conservative party agreed a simple Remain/Stay referendum there was a proposal to ask the people if they wanted to renegotiate our relationship, to be followed by an In/Out referendum. In the end the government held a renegotiation without bothering with a referendum to approve such a renegotiation.” The truth is that the renegotiation which he refers to was carried out by David Cameron and because it did not have the backing of the public, and because David Cameron is not capable of dealing with difficult situations, he failed to achieve anything meaningful in that process.
Way back on 6th September 2016 the views of David Davis were made clear by the Mail Online which reported “David Davis last night flatly rejected ‘anti-democratic’ demands for a second EU referendum or for MPs to hold a vote allowing them to block the referendum result. The Cabinet minister for Brexit told MPs the public had delivered its ‘instructions’ to Parliament and pro-Remain MPs must get over it.”
Of course Redwood, Davis and Rees-Mogg are clearly entitled to change their minds, to reflect circumstances which their party in Government shapes. However surely they cannot with any integrity deny the chance for the British public to also change its mind as the details of the proposed departure emerge. This is even more relevant for us as we are not members of the party that has been carrying out the negotiations and so do not have their level of ‘allegiance’ to that Government. One of the additional items in the speech by David Davis on 19th November 2012 is “My preference would be that we should remain within the Customs Union of the EU” which seems to reinforce the extent to which politicians are capable of changing their minds, like the rest of us.