This week, Nigel Farage raised the possibility of a second EU referendum when he said a narrow victory for “Remain” on 23rd June would leave “unfinished business.”
He is not the first politician to imply that a second referendum might follow the initial vote. Former Conservative leader Michael Howard claimed in February that we may hold a follow-up referendum, while Boris Johnson was reported to be in favour of a “double referendum strategy”—something he later denied.
A second referendum could happen for two reasons, it is thought. One argument runs that Britain could vote to leave on 23rd June and this would send the EU into a panic. It would try to persuade us to remain in the European Union and would offer us “improved” terms, which would need to be voted on. The second scenario is a narrow win for “Remain,” which would mean anti-EU sentiment lingering post-referendum—leading to a second vote at some point in the future.
Is a second referendum feasible? Or do their proponents misunderstand how the EU operates? A panel of experts including Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats, offer their views.
A pathetic comeback attempt
Tim Farron, leader of the Liberal Democrats
The idea of a second EU referendum, suggested by Farage earlier this week, is not only a pathetic attempt at a comeback by a failing “Leave” campaign, it also ignores the history of these sort of referendums.
Successive independence referendums for the state of Quebec in Canada popularised the phrase “neverendum,” and eventually the independence movement collapsed. Farage and those supporting Brexit should take note: undermining the validity of a referendum and ignoring the democratic choice of British people will not make you more popular (something other nationalist parties in the country should also understand). Nor will it encourage more people to support your cause in the first instance.
The UKIP leader regularly accuses the EU of not listening to the democratic will of countries. So maybe, just maybe, he should live up to his own words for once and listen to the choice of the British…