The temptations of a second Brexit referendum

Can the Brexit decision be reversed? Isn't a second vote even compulsory since May's government emerged weakened from general elections and the negotiations with the EU seem to be getting ever more complicated? These questions are the focus of growing debate in the UK.

Open/close all quotes
Financial Times (GB) /

Brexiters have had their chance

The Financial Times makes the case for a second referendum:

“The more that it becomes apparent that the Brexiters' original vision is collapsing, the more shrilly they will insist that a second referendum would be undemocratic. But the Leavers' view of democracy is similar to that of a third-world dictator: ... Once a decision has been taken by referendum, it cannot be revoked. ... This is a principle that would never be applied to electoral democracy, where it is essential that consent is renewed every five years, at a minimum. Referendums, it is argued, are different. But are they? ... At a certain stage, the British people might reach the obvious conclusion that the Brexiters have had their chance - and failed. Then it will be time to take back control.”

The Guardian (GB) /

No change of mood

The demands for a new referendum are both unrealistic and dangerous, the Guardian warns:

“At some future date Britain may vote for a government that advocates returning, humbled, to an EU that may itself look changed. ... But never try another referendum. Haven't we learned that lesson the hard way? A crude question divides a nation, driven by emotions not on the ballot paper, paralysing politics for years to come. If your confirmation bias draws your eyes only to stories that tell you the tide is turning, cast your eyes occasionally at how Murdoch, the Mail and the Telegraph still ply their venom. They would still be there, poisoning the air, in a second referendum.”