The prospect of a second referendum on the EU was raised by a leading supporter of Theresa May yesterday. Former Attorney General Dominic Grieve – a leading Remain advocate – said: 'It's possible that people may change their mind about this and I have to say I don't take the view that referendums are writ in stone.'
The comments by Conservative MP Mr Grieve were seized on by Mrs May's Tory critics, who said they reinforced their claims that she will face pressure from her allies to backtrack on the Brexit vote if she becomes Prime Minister.
Mr Grieve told the BBC that 'as a parliamentarian and a democrat, I have to accept the verdict of the referendum' and that a Tory Government was under an obligation to 'try to give effect' to it.
But asked if people could get a chance to vote on the UK's future deal on quitting the EU, he said: 'People can change their minds and if there came a point where it became apparent that a very substantial percentage of the population had a different view, then just as we had a referendum (on the Common Market) in 1975 and we had a referendum today, it is possible to change that.'
Britain could leave the European Union toward the end of 2019, instead of early that year as expected by some politicians, reported the Sunday Times, citing sources who have been briefed by ministers that Brexit departments were not ready.
The UK voted to leave the EU on June 23, but Prime Minister Theresa May has said she will not invoke "Article 50," the two-year formal process for divorcing the bloc, this year as the country needs time to prepare for negotiations.
But Article 50 could be invoked later than that, sources who had been privately warned by ministers told the Sunday Times, with any delays a result of new government departments set up to handle Brexit and international trade not yet being fully staffed.
Britain's international trade minister, Liam Fox, said in July that early next year could be the best time for Britain to trigger the divorce talks. Elections in France in May, and Germany in September, could also push back the timing of Britain triggering Article 50, reported the newspaper.
Formed in 2011 by former members of the British National Party, Britain First has grown rapidly to become the most prominent far-right group in the country.
While it insists it is not a racist party, it campaigns on a familiar anti-immigration platform, while calling for the return of “traditional British values” and the end of “Islamisation”.
Although it claims to have just 6,000 members, Britain First has managed to build an army of online fans, mainly by using social media to campaign for innocuous causes such as stopping animal cruelty, or wearing a poppy on Remembrance Day, and appealing for users to “like” its messages. It now has more than 1.4 million “likes” on Facebook, more than any other British political party.
A march in January targeted Dewsbury, near Jo Cox’s Batley and Spen constituency, and featured 120 Britain First members carrying crucifixes and Union Jacks through the town.
Mrs Cox wrote on Twitter at the time: “Very proud of the people of Dewsbury and Batley today - who faced down the racism and fascism of the extreme right with calm unity.”
A senior British court on Thursday dealt a severe blow to Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to begin the process of exiting the European Union early next year, ruling she must get Parliament’s approval before she acts.
The decision greatly complicates May’s stated plan to trigger Article 50 – the never-before-used mechanism for a country to leave the European Union – by the end of March at the latest.
Most members of Parliament opposed Brexit in the lead-up to Britain’s June referendum, when voters opted for an exit by a 52-to-48 margin. But it risks setting off an angry backlash from voters who favor leaving the E.U. and believe the issue was settled.
For the government, meanwhile, it boosted the chance that May will have to call a new election next year to seek a mandate to begin negotiations for the E.U. divorce.