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10.57 11 Jan 2018


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Updated 14:25

The leader of the UK Independence Party has insisted his party is still entirely opposed to idea of holding a second Brexit referendum.

It comes after his predecessor Nigel Farage said "maybe, just maybe" UK voters should be offered a second chance to vote.

Nigel Farage claimed a second vote would deliver a “very much bigger” Leave majority, adding that it could potentially “kill off the issue for a generation.”

This afternoon the current UKIP leader, Henry Bolton backed Farage’s claim that a second vote would strengthen the Brexit movement – but insisted holding it would be “damaging” for the UK.

“To hold such a referendum would be to call into question the decisive importance of the largest democratic exercise ever held by this country and the unambiguous mandate the people gave the government on that day - the mandate take us out of the European Union,” he said.

“Such a second referendum would set a precedent for revisiting any democratic decision made in future.

“It would undermine the fabric of our democratic principles and would weaken the clarity and effectiveness of democratic decision.”

UKIP leader Henry Bolton at the Riviera International Centre in Torquay, England, 30-Sep-2017. Image: Ben Birchall/PA Wire/PA Images

Second chance

 

Many campaigners in favour of remaining in the EU - such as former prime minister Tony Blair - have called for a second Brexit referendum, either on the final deal or to give the British electorate a second chance to decide about their future membership of the EU.

Mr Farage is known as one of the most vocal proponents of Brexit, and was a key figure in the campaign to leave the EU.

Speaking on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff, Mr Farage described why he now thinks a second vote could be necessary.

He observed: "What is for certain, is that [prominent Remainers] will never, ever give up - they will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

"Maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking we should have a second referendum on EU membership."

He added: "I think if we had a second referendum on EU membership, we'd kill it off for a generation. The percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger. We may just finish the whole thing off, and [Tony] Blair can disappear off into total obscurity."

51.89% of British voters backed leave in the June 2016 referendum, with 48.1% voting to Remain. Northern Ireland and Scotland both delivered strong Remain votes.

Ahead of the vote, Mr Farage had claimed a 52-48 result in favour of Remain would be 'unfinished business' and could trigger a second referendum.

Recent opinion polls have indicated more British voters think the UK was wrong to vote to leave the EU than those who think it was the right decision.

Mr Farage's comments come as a new report has warned that up to 87,000 jobs are at risk in London if Britain walks away from EU negotiations without a Brexit deal.


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