ANTI-BREXIT RALLY: 'The facts have CHANGED since referendum!' Vince Cable's FURIOUS rant
Remainer Sir Vince was speaking as hundreds gathered in Bristol for the first of a series of regional days of action planned by the People’s Vote campaign across the country.
The Lib Dem leader was joining Conservative and Labour MPs and a Green MEP in addressing more than 700 people who are calling for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal at Bristol’s Colston Hall.
Sir Vince rejected claims that it would be undemocratic to put the question of EU membership back to another public vote, after the 52 percent – 48 percent victory for Leave in 2016.
He said promises of a smooth and amicable withdrawal deal and a cash boost for the NHS had proved unfounded.
Sir Vince told the rally that since the 52 percent to 48 percent victory for Leave in 2016, “the situation has changed, the facts have changed”.
He told crowds: “We were all told the British Government was going to save vast amounts of money.
“We now know that’s not the case: there’s the £40 billion divorce settlement, the economy’s slowing down, there’s less money for the NHS.
“We were told it was simple – it’s actually proving unbelievably complicated.
“Another thing that’s happened in the last two years is Trump. The whole premise of Britain embarking on some buccaneering free trading adventure around the world as a country independent of the EU has been completely negated by Trump’s protectionist agenda. This has made a complete and utter nonsense of it.
“So our position in arguing against Brexit and for a people’s vote is now stronger than ever.
“But we have to work together; we have to work across party frontiers.”
Sir Vince also claimed US President Donald Trump’s protectionist policies had cast doubt on Brexiteers’ vision of new trade deals and voters were now more aware of the complexities of issues like the Irish border.
He told Sky News: “The world has changed. It is perfectly reasonable to go back to the public and ask ‘Is this want you really want or do you want to stay in the EU and reform it from within?
“It is a perfectly legitimate democratic expression.
“It is perfectly normal in countries that have a tradition of referendums – which we haven’t in the UK – to have confirmatory votes at the end to see whether people are happy with what the Government has negotiated.”
Sir Vince said it was quite possible that MPs would find it impossible to deliver a majority in the House of Commons on any of the most likely outcomes – a no-deal Brexit, a negotiated deal along the lines proposed by Theresa May or continued EU membership.
And he said it would be “difficult” if MPs attempted to reverse the 2016 result without securing the explicit consent of the public.
“I think it is difficult when you have had a public vote for Parliament to then overturn it,” he said. “I think there is a need to go back to the public, to have proper democratic legitimacy.”
Sir Vince pointed to a nationwide poll of more than 10,000 voters which this week found that Britain would back continued EU membership by 53% to 47% if a referendum was held now.
Some 45% of those questioned by YouGov for the People’s Vote wanted a referendum on the outcome of the Brexit negotiations, with 34% opposed.
And 50% said that the public should have the final say on whether the UK crashes out of the bloc without a deal if talks break down, compared to just 25% who said Parliament should decide.
“It is very clear that the public is moving in our direction,” said the Lib Dem leader.
“Polls in the last few days suggest there is a 10-point margin between those who favour a fresh vote as opposed to those against.
“It’s clear that the centre of gravity is moving and it is absolutely right we reflect that.”
10,121 adults were surveyed online by YouGov between July 31 and August 7.