By Andrew MacAskill
LONDON (Reuters) – After shedding probably the most contentious referendum in British historical past, James McGrory went for a drink in The Hope pub close to London’s medieval meat market. Amid butchers in bloodied coats, his dream of reversing Brexit appeared hopeless.
Two years later, with the nation in disaster over how or whether or not to go away the European Union, McGrory is feeling extra assured that his marketing campaign may also help safe one other referendum that he hopes would overturn the 2016 end result.
The concept of a second referendum has been gathering assist from some senior British politicians and appears to have traction with sections of public opinion, however the political scenario is so unsure that it’s exhausting to say whether or not this may really translate into one other vote, and when or how that may executed, or what query is likely to be put.
“Now we have gone from being seen as a fringe view, dismissed and laughed at, to now being on the middle of the Brexit debate,” McGrory, the 36-year-old marketing campaign director of the Individuals’s Vote marketing campaign, stated in an interview.
“The percentages are getting shorter on daily basis that we get one other referendum. All of the momentum is with our marketing campaign.”
Betting odds present there’s a 43 % chance of an EU referendum earlier than 2020. Gamblers suppose there’s a 55 % chance that Britain doesn’t go away as deliberate on March 29.
Opinion polls counsel there was a slight shift by voters in direction of remaining within the EU, however the public stays broadly cut up down the center.
It stays unclear how precisely a second vote is likely to be referred to as, although some lawmakers have drafted an in depth roadmap, setting out attainable legislative routes to a different referendum.
In the meantime, campaigners for an additional vote are busy lobbying parliament and attempting to drum up public assist with rallies and on social and mainstream media. They observe Prime Minister Theresa Could has included their desired end result as certainly one of three choices dealing with the nation: her deal, no deal or reversing Brexit.
U.S. funding financial institution J.P. Morgan stated the probabilities of Britain calling off Brexit had elevated after a string of parliamentary defeats for Could forged new doubt over her plan to stop the bloc.
Turning Brexit the wrong way up would mark one of the crucial extraordinary reversals in fashionable British historical past and certain alienate the 17.four million individuals who voted to go away the EU.
The trail to a brand new referendum is fraught with disaster.
Could’s Brexit deal has first to be voted down in parliament on Dec. 11. Second, her authorities has to endure an try by the opposition Labour Get together to topple it after which name a nationwide election.
With the clock ticking right down to March 29 and monetary markets pricing in what can be a doubtlessly disorderly exit, McGrory and his campaigners hope Britain’s politicians will settle for they’ve come to a lifeless finish and throw the query again to voters.
David Lammy, a Labour lawmaker, stated that after parliament fails to succeed in a consensus it’ll reluctantly agree to carry one other referendum as the perfect amongst a restricted variety of escape routes to keep away from a doubtlessly chaotic exit.
“We are going to in all probability find yourself going spherical and spherical in circles and when politics is caught and can’t attain compromise then the one approach to get out of that’s to return to the individuals,” Lammy instructed Reuters.
Lammy stated that the scenario could resemble Charles Dickens’ novel Bleak Home, which revolves round a will settlement that has been in courtroom so lengthy that few of the individuals can bear in mind the unique arguments.
A brand new referendum can solely be referred to as whether it is authorized by parliament. This might be both put ahead by the federal government or by rebels.
The hurdles to a different referendum are excessive.
Each main political events are dedicated to leaving the EU in accordance with the 2016 referendum.
Labour Get together chief Jeremy Corbyn, who voted towards membership of the European Group in a 1975 referendum, has indicated he isn’t eager on one other referendum now.
His celebration has stated they may solely assist one other referendum if the deal is voted down they usually fail to pressure a basic election.
Some commerce union leaders opposed one other referendum as a result of they really feel it could be seen as betrayal by hundreds of thousands of Brexit supporters in Labour’s electoral heartlands.
Brexit supporters say the 2016 vote have to be revered. “It’s wholly harmful for us to show to the individuals now and say, ‘You allow us to down. You bought it incorrect’,” stated Nigel Evans, a Conservative MP.
Even when parliament did agree in precept to a second referendum, Britain would then need to ask for an extension to its timetable for leaving the EU to permit sufficient time for a marketing campaign, in all probability by withdrawing its Article 50 departure notification.
On Tuesday, simply hours earlier than a five-day parliamentary debate on Could’s deal, an adviser to the European Courtroom of Justice stated Britain may revoke its formal divorce discover. The courtroom is because of rule on Dec. 10.
Even when there was a change in temper there can be controversy about what the query can be and whether or not one other referendum would ship a distinct end result.
After the failure of the 2016 marketing campaign, pro-Europeans turned on one another and blamed what they noticed because the chicanery of their opponents on the Brexit marketing campaign.
However within the wake of their defeat, a small group of influential politicians, journalists and campaigners began to hatch a plan to maintain Britain contained in the membership it joined in 1973.
They needed to face unpalatable truths.
Their 2016 marketing campaign had been riven with rivalry, broken by its affiliation with then-Prime Minister David Cameron, underperformed on social media and was forged by opponents because the voice of the institution arguing for the established order.
In current months, pro-EU campaigners have been feeling extra optimistic. In October, the Individuals’s Vote organized a march of just about 700,000 individuals by means of London demanding one other vote.
“The tables have turned,” stated McGrory. “We’re the underdog. We’re the scrappy marketing campaign that’s doing issues a bit in another way.”
Within the final month, two ministers have resigned calling for an additional referendum.
Three of the 4 former British prime ministers nonetheless alive – John Main, Tony Blair and Gordon Brown – have additionally stated a second referendum is the way in which to resolve the disaster.
The temper within the headquarters of the Individuals’s Vote in Millbank Tower near parliament is bullish.
Younger individuals look at charts of goal audiences and arrange an promoting blitz to persuade lawmakers to dam the federal government’s deal.
“If anybody thinks Brexit is a executed deal they need to be prepared for an additional shock,” McGrory stated.