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21st May 2019

Theresa May announces parliamentary vote on second Brexit referendum if her deal is passed

James Dawson

Theresa May has hung a carrot in front of MPs from across the Commons

Theresa May announced that she will offer MPs a vote on the whether to hold a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, as she revealed the terms of her new Brexit deal on Monday.

In a speech, the prime minister said her new Brexit bill will include a requirement to hold a vote on whether or not to have a second referendum if it is passed.

May also warned MPs that if they failed to pass her bill then they would be rejecting Brexit leaving it “dead in the water”, likely triggering another public ballot on Brexit or a general election.

Turning to the impact the Brexit deadlock was having on British politics, she described it as “corrosive”. “We are making a new offer to find common ground in parliament,” she added. “That is the only way to deliver Brexit.”

The announcement follows a prolonged period of cross-party negotiations following her last withdrawal agreement being rejected in March. Over the next two weeks, the government will look to persuade MPs across parliament to vote for the deal ahead of the vote.

Among the changes announced to her previous deal are safeguards on workers rights to remain “as good as or better” than EU standards, common rules for food and agricultural goods, a legal obligation to seek alternative arrangements to the backstop by 2020 and further guarantees on environmental issues.

Parliament will also be able to choose between the government’s position on standards for good, such as making new independent trade deals, or whether to back Labour’s proposals for remaining in the customs union.