After it was alleged the Vote Leave campaign broke the law and Justine Greening became the most senior Conservative MP to support to a second referendum on EU membership, many questions have been asked about a “People’s Vote” on Brexit.
The Vote Leave campaign, fronted by Boris Johnson and Michael Gove was the official campaign in the build up to the EU referendum in June 2016.
An investigation by the Electoral Commission said Vote Leave evaded legal spending limits by funnelling cash through pro-Brexit youth group BeLeave, a claim which the organisation deny.
The allegations – and Greening’s suggestion that the only way to progress was to “take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians” – mean the future of Brexit remains unclear.
Here is a breakdown of the main questions surrounding the UK’s exit from the European Union:
Will there be another EU referendum?
It’s very difficult to say.
After the subject has nearly torn the Tories apart, the decision may well lie in Jeremy Corbyn’s hands.
If he is willing to whip Labour MPs to vote for one, it is quite possible that enough Tories would rebel to force Theresa May to accept it. This said, it is far from clear that the leader of the opposition is ready to accept a second vote.
This is likely to depend on how public opinion changes in the face of open warfare within the Conservatives over the PM’s Chequers deal.
Who backs a second referendum?
As well as senior Conservative Justine Greening, the Liberal Democrats and Greens are demanding a vote on the final Brexit deal, with the option of remaining in the EU.
Campaign groups such as Best for Britain and People’s Vote also call for a say in negotiations. Former political leaders like Tony Blair, Sir John Major, David Miliband, Nick Clegg and Lord Heseltine have all also weighed in on the historic decision.
Where do Labour stand?
Although polls suggest a majority of party members would back a second referendum, Labour is not calling for one. Though nor have the party ruled it out. E
The Scottish National Party, currently the third party in Westminster, has left the option of a referendum on the table.
What about the Government?
Theresa May’s official spokesperson (currently) says: “The British people have voted to leave the EU and there is not going to be a second referendum under any circumstances.”
What do Brexiteers think?
The standard Leave response is to say the issue was settled with the 52%-48% vote in favour of Brexit after the original vote in 2016. They say calls for a second referendum are just another example of the EU forcing voters to go back to the polls until they get the “right” result.
However, former Ukip leader Nigel Farage has flirted with the idea of a second poll, suggesting it might be necessary to “kill off” the idea of continued membership.
What do the polls say?
Over the past year, opinion surveys have fairly consistently shown voters think Britain made the wrong decision in 2016. But until recently this has not been matched by any appetite to re-run the referendum. Polls over the past few months appear to have shown a shift in opinion towards a decisive second vote.
What would the question actually be?
This is the crucial issue. Remainers insist voters should be offered a choice between whatever deal the Government has secured and staying in the EU. Brexiters say the decision to leave has already been taken, so the ballot paper should offer the options of leaving under the Government deal or with no deal. Ms Greening wants to offer three options, with voters given first and second preferences.
Would that settle the issue at last?
Again, highly unlikely. Victory for Remain would leave Brexiters howling betrayal and leave huge numbers of voters feeling their views had been ignored. A vote for a no-deal departure would horrify Remainers and potentially cause panic in the business community.
The Government’s compromise deal might well be knocked out on the second count, even though it might have beaten either of the other options when second preferences were taken into account.
Would the EU accept a second result?
Brussels has repeatedly sent signals that it would be ready to discard Britain’s Article 50 letter if the UK changed its mind.
That said, Brexiters warn that the EU would demand concessions – such as an end to the British rebate or maybe even a promise to join the euro – in return for writing off the last two years of disruption over Brexit.