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London Mayor calls for second Brexit referendum

Press Trust of India  |  London 

on Sunday called for a second referendum as he criticised the Conservative party-led UK government's increasingly "chaotic approach" to the negotiations with the 28-member (EU).

The Pakistani-origin Opposition said the fresh vote should offer voters the choice of staying in the EU against any deal the manages to strike or against a "no-deal" Brexit, if an agreement cannot be reached.

Writing in the 'Observer' newspaper, Khan warned that with the UK due to leave the EU in six months, by March 2019, it now faced either a "bad deal" or "no deal".

"Both these scenarios are a million miles away from what was promised during the EU referendum campaign," Khan said, claiming that independent analysis had forecast 500,000 fewer jobs across Britain by 2030 if a deal is not reached.

"I've become increasingly alarmed as the chaotic approach to the negotiations has become mired in confusion and deadlock, leading us down a path that could be hugely damaging not only to London, but the whole country," he said.

The former MP from Tooting in south warned that the whole debate had become more about former Boris Johnson's "political ambitions" than what was good for the UK.

"The need for another public vote on Brexit was never inevitable, or something I ever thought I'd have to call for," he said.

"But the reality is that the abject failure of the government and the huge risk we now face of either a bad deal or a 'no deal' Brexit means that giving people a fresh say on our future is now the right, and only, approach left for the good of our country," Khan added.

He said the government had failed to put the national interest ahead of party

As calls for a campaign for a second referendum has been building up, British had said that "giving in" to such calls for a second referendum on the final terms of the UK's withdrawal from the EU would be "a gross betrayal of our democracy".

People's Vote, a group that includes several high-profile figures and MPs, has been trying to sway the to back its campaign and Khan's open support will come as a welcome boost for the drive.

Meanwhile, in a letter to UK Dominic Raab, published by 'The Sunday Times', Labour's shadow Sir warned the government that Labour MPs will vote down attempts to force the country into a "blind Brexit".

The Labour Party's official policy remains to respect the outcome of the EU referendum in 2016, and not to call for a new one but to "leave all options on the table" if a deal is not agreed by Parliament.

Party himself has repeatedly failed to rule out the prospect of a second vote, but has consistently said it is not party policy and Labour is not advocating the issue.

He will now be under pressure to make a more vocal stance in favour of a second referendum.

In a referendum in June 2016, 51.9 per cent voters had backed Britain's exit from the EU and 48.1 per cent had voted to Remain.

According to a series of recent opinion polls, the chances of the vote being overturned in favour of Remain has been gaining ground as the between the UK and EU fail to reach a decisive phase.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Sun, September 16 2018. 16:35 IST