Nigel Farage says "maybe" we should have a second Brexit referendum

Catherine Neilan
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Nigel Farage has said "maybe" there should be a second referendum on EU membership to "kill off" any suggestion that it's not what the British public really want.

The arch-Leaver and former Ukip leader told Channel 5's The Wright Stuff that his "mind was actually changing" on the idea.

He said: "What is for certain is the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never ever give up. They will keep on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

"So maybe, just maybe, I am reaching the point of thinking we should have a second referendum [...] on EU membership.

"If we had a second referendum on EU membership we would kill it off for a generation, the percentage that would vote to leave next time would be very much bigger than it was last time and we may just finish it off."

It clearly wasn't a misspeak: Farage tweeted the same words shortly after the broadcast, which you can see below.

That puts Farage in the somewhat unusual situation of agreeing with Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable and Labour MP Chuka Umunna (although notably not Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn) in calling for an opportunity for people to go back to the polls.

Umunna said: “For perhaps the first time in his life, Nigel Farage is making a valid point. In a democracy like ours, the British people have every right to keep an open mind about Brexit.

“If the Brexit that is delivered does not match up to the promises of Leave campaigners - with no sign of £350m extra per week for the NHS but a whopping great divorce bill of £39bn - then everyone is entitled to ask if this is the right choice for our country.”

The chair of anti-Brexit group Best for Britain Lord Mark Malloch Brown added: "My message is clear - bring it on.

"This is something that the country needs. Every day we see the disaster of Brexit as we see its impact on our economy, jobs, communities and our society.

"With these comments Nigel Farage is disowning the chaos that trying to leave the EU has wrought on this country. Him and his Brexiteer allies have zero idea of what would come next."

However, a spokesman for Number 10 dismissed the idea out of hand, saying: "We will not be having a second referendum."

And Farage's own party have rejected his sentiment, with current leader Henry Bolton saying it would "undermine the fabric of our democratic principles", while Brexit spokesman Gerard Batten saying his comments were "unhelpful and unnecessary".

A recent YouGov poll for The Times, found a record high of 47 per cent of people saying they thought Britain was wrong to vote leave the EU, coupled with a record low of 42 per cent saying we were right to do so.

But just 18 per cent wanted a second referendum and a further 14 per cent wanted Brexit abandoned completely, resulting in less than a third of people saying they would like an “attempt to reverse” Brexit. A further 16 per cent said they didn’t know.

The shock referendum result 18 months ago saw the vote split 52 per cent in favour of Leave against 48 per cent in favour of Remain.