Chris Moncrieff: Whether you're a Leaver or a Remainer, a second poll would be a betrayal
It would be a preposterous act of betrayal of the British people if a second referendum was called in an endeavour to resolve the Brexit shambles. This is true whether you are a Remainer or a Leaver. Parliament ordained the referendum and, at the same time, gave a solemn promise that they’d abide by the result.
The fact politicians have got themselves in such a mess trying to implement the referendum result in favour of quitting the EU cannot ever be used as an excuse for defaulting on the original undertaking.
To her eternal credit, the Prime Minister refuses to bow to the clamour for a second referendum.
She hit out at Tony Blair, accusing him of “insulting” the British people and the office of Prime Minister by “undermining” Brexit talks with calls in Brussels for a second referendum.
In a pointed swipe at the Labour heavyweight, the Prime Minister said a second referendum would amount to parliament abdicating responsibility.
Mrs May said: “For Tony Blair to go to Brussels and seek to undermine our negotiations by advocating for a second referendum is an insult to the office he once held and the people he once served. We cannot, as he would, abdicate responsibility for this decision.
“Parliament has a democratic duty to deliver what the British people voted for. I remain determined to see that happen. I will not let the British people down.”
The trouble is that the people who really matter — the great British electorate — are being fobbed off with contradictory stories about what is going on behind the scenes. Some are insisting that the Cabinet is involved in its own civil war about whether to have a second referendum, while others insist this is completely untrue.
Meanwhile, those calling for another poll are claiming that those who voted for the UK to leave the EU did not appreciate what this would involve.
How patronising. Of course, most people realised that the EU negotiating team would try to squeeze every drop of blood out of the UK in what has approached the level of bullying the Prime Minister partly, no doubt, to frighten any other member states which might be considering following in the UK’s footsteps.
It’s as if the elitists simply assume — arrogantly — that they know better than the people they are supposed to serve (and are paid handsomely for it).
Some of the reasons given by those demanding another referendum are bizarre — to put it mildly. Sir Vince Cable, the Liberal Democrat leader, has said the Remain campaign during the original referendum fell far short of even being effective.
Well, that is laughable and is no reason for going to the polls again.
The simple truth is that the British voters, on both sides of the argument, deserve better of their politicians than this.
n Theresa May is fighting her corner against a stubborn and obdurate team of negotiators in Brussels, who are finding her a much tougher opponent than they’d probably expected.
But there are those who would like to see a little more drama and aggression on the part of the UK team.
In similar circumstances, Margaret Thatcher (above) would thump the table and brandish her famous handbag, frightening the lives out of the Brussels team.
Theresa May cannot match that — but she is adamant not to surrender and is to be commended for that.
But what is urgently required is some kind of magic to sort out the shambles in the House of Commons, where at the moment getting a majority on anything appears to be a major problem.
Somehow, all this has to be resolved and the Leavers get what they voted for in the referendum in a fair and honourable way.
n When all this is over, major surgery will be required to restore the shattered Conservative Party back to rude health. It may well take a new leader to do that.
As you might expect, the usual suspects, like Boris Johnson and Jeremy Hunt (above), have both indicated they will be in the running.
But in politics, it is often not the obvious names who get the crown.
Has anyone thought of David Lidington — the quiet man who is Theresa May’s de facto number two? He is the dark horse to watch.
But there is going to be a lot more discord before that position is reached.
Belfast Telegraph Digital