LONDON (REUTERS) - There will be no second referendum on Brexit, a spokesman for Britain’s Theresa May said on Monday (July 16), repeating the prime minister’s belief that her plan for leaving the European Union was the only way to get a deal that meets the government’s aims.
“The British public have voted to leave the European Union. There is not going to be a second referendum ... under any circumstances,” the spokesman told reporters.
The spokesman's comments came after a former senior British minister called on Monday for another referendum to solve a parliamentary stalemate on Brexit, saying May's proposals for new ties with the European Union were a fudge that satisfied no one.
Justine Greening, a former education secretary who quit the government in January, said May's negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the EU nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.
"We'll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them," Greening wrote in the Times newspaper.
"It's not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, 'What's the point?'. For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted."
May has previously ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 per cent to leave the bloc.
Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her Cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling. Two senior ministers resigned in protest shortly afterwards.
May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government's post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.
However, she has told unhappy lawmakers that they needed to back her or risk there being no Brexit at all.
Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May's plans, a "no-deal" break with the EU or remaining in the bloc.
"The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people," she said.