Council leaders clash over second EU referendum

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Leading councillors in Lincoln have clashed over the prospect of offering the British public a second EU referendum, also known as a ‘People’s Vote’.

The leader of City of Lincoln Council said he “would not oppose” another vote if MPs cannot agree a deal or hold a General Election.

But Lincolnshire County Council’s leader, Martin Hill, said we should “honour” the result of the referendum in June 2016.

The UK is set to leave the EU on March 29, 2019, but MPs have yet to vote on a  withdrawal deal.

Some campaigners have called for another referendum if MPs cannot agree a way forward on a deal with the European Union.

City of Lincoln Council Leader, Councillor Ric Metcalfe

Councillor Metcalfe said the country was “divided” on which route to take with Brexit.

He added that, while he had “doubts” about a ‘People’s Vote’, the country could be “forced” down the route if parliament is in deadlock.

“It looks as though Theresa May’s proposal is going to be defeated, so the issue then is where does the country go?,” he said.

“We want a planned exit, if parliament can’t agree and parliament will not agree to a General Election then I think we are all probably going to be forced down another popular vote on the issue.

“Parliament can’t remain in paralysis, if there is no majority for a General Election then the only resort is going to be another vote.”

He added that he would not “oppose” a second vote, but understood people’s concerns over another referendum.

But Councillor Hill, who backs Brexit, said parliament should honour and “respect” the result of the first referendum.

“I think a People’s Vote is just another word for a referendum for people who didn’t like the result of the first,” he said.

“I talk to men and women in the street and they say ‘just get on with it’ and can’t understand why it’s taking so long.

“I think we need to honour that [result] and parliament is grappling with what that really means.”

He added that the government needs to ensure that the UK has a “positive” relationship with the EU after Brexit.

Prime Minister Theresa May and EU Council President Jean-Claude Juncker.

Former Prime Ministers John Major and Tony Blair have backed giving people another vote on the deal as a “logical outcome”.

It comes as Prime Minister Theresa May called off a vote on her Brexit deal last week as she looks for further assurances from MPs.

Mrs May will bring her deal with the EU back to the House of Commons next month.


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