Skip to main content

Second Referendum

Volume 657: debated on Thursday 4 April 2019

18. If he will make an assessment of the potential negative effect on his Department’s policies of a second referendum on the UK leaving the EU. (910230)

My hon. Friend will appreciate that a second referendum would have a very corrosive impact not only on our politics but on trust, which has been mentioned many times. A clear instruction was given in 2016 to withdraw from the EU, and that is what the Government remain absolutely committed to fulfilling.

I am grateful to the Minister for that answer. Beyond that impact, what assessment has he made of the democratic and financial impacts of pursuing such a change in policy?

My hon. Friend is quite right: holding a second referendum would create enormous uncertainty that would undermine the strong economic achievement of the Government and of our businesses. It would essentially take us back to square one and result in more delay at a time when the public simply want politicians to deliver what they promised.

After the talks with the Labour party leader yesterday, the Chancellor said this morning that a second referendum is more likely. Are we seeing the start of yet another U-turn from a Government who have abandoned all their promises on going forward with no deal, having no border down the Irish sea and ensuring that we leave the EU on 29 March?

In respect of the second referendum, as I said to my hon. Friend the Member for Corby (Tom Pursglove), it is Government policy to honour the 2016 referendum. That is what we have been tasked to do, and that is what we are 100% focused on. The second referendum is a red herring, frankly. It is not something that we countenance. We want to deliver on the 2016 referendum.