One of the country’s most senior Labour councillors has called on MPs to back Theresa May’s deal – and agree to hold a second referendum in five years’ time.
Writing for the Yorkshire Post this morning, Sir Stephen Houghton, leader of Barnsley MBC, said a solution was needed to the current impasse over Brexit that would create economic stability and restore faith in the democratic process.
A second referendum “in the current context” could “only cause more bitterness and division” and there was “no single action” that could solve the challenges face by the country, Sir Stephen said.
“First we need to honour the 2016 referendum and the democratic will of the people and bring short-term economic stability until many of the outstanding issues can be resolved,” Sir Stephen said. ”This means agreeing the deal on offer. A no-deal Brexit is too uncertain with its consequences – both economically for all of us and politically in Northern Ireland.”
Sir Stephen, who also chairs the Special Interest Group of Municipal Authorities, said in return Parliament should agree to a further referendum in five years’ time, allowing outstanding issues on trade and the Irish border to be resolved. The terms of re-entry to the EU could also be identified ahead of the second referendum and British people would have a chance to experience life outside of the EU.
Sir Stephen also said an “independent commission” should lead the dissemination of information in the run up to the next referendum.
He added: “Unless further steps are taken, the culture of disinformation we have now will continue to undermine our democracy.”