World / EU referendum

I'd vote for a second EU referendum

By Earle Gale in London ( Updated: 2016-10-12 00:38

I'm starting to feel abandoned.

With the dust barely settled following the UK electorate's bombshell decision to leave the European Union, both principal protagonists in the debate about whether we should or should not part company with the EU have moved on.

Nigel Farage, the man who led the charge to say au revoir has stood down as leader of the UK Independence Party – to be replaced by Diane James – something that was followed by Ms James' own resignation after only 18 days on the job.

And former UK prime minister, David Cameron, who stepped down as the leader of the UK government immediately after the Brexit referendum, also recently announced his intention to get out of Westminster completely, announcing he will stand down as the Member of Parliament representing Witney in Oxfordshire.

So now, the two people who argued the pros and cons of the EU from opposing trenches are walking off into the sunset, with the country and its voters none the wiser as to what happens next.

No wonder Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem's EU spokesman and formerly deputy prime minister in a David Cameron-led coalition government, said at his party's conference that the UK is "up a Brexit creek without a paddle, a canoe or a map".

It really seems as if Cameron, who allowed the referendum when many thought it too big a decision for relatively uninformed voters, and Farage, who could have blustered and whipped up a frenzy without ever really expected his dream to come true, are making a run for it while the rest of us clean up the mess.

The Lib Dems, a party that once held the balance of power but which is now basically irrelevant, have a point when they say the UK's voters should be given the opportunity to take part in another referendum – this time to either approve or nix the deal detailing the future relationship between the UK and EU.

The Tories are about to start negotiating with Brussels on how the UK and Europe will interact in the future. At one end of the spectrum, the deal could see the UK have access to the EU's free-trade area without the burden of providing homes and welfare checks for every poor European who relocates to the UK. At the other end, it could see the UK leave its borders open while losing the right to trade without barriers and tariffs. Then, there is everything in between.

There are so many shades of Brexit that the UK's voters deserve the chance to choose whether or not they want to accept what is put in front of them, and any future referendum should give them the option to not only reject any deal on the table but opt for the status quo – remaining part of the European Union.

The Lib Dems don't get much right – they recently said they would block Chinese investment in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station – but in this case they have got it bang on.

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