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A simple referendum will solve Brexit — not a chaotic general election

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06.09.2019

What the dysfunctional state of Conservative politics is now poised to perpetrate on the British people is the final chapter of Brexit madness: to oblige them to resolve whether we leave the EU in the most extreme form — no deal — in a general election.

This is wrong in principle, against the national interest, against the self-interest of many MPs, and born of political calculations that are highly suspect.

Strip out all the political noise and thunder and there is one basic question: is a no-deal Brexit mandated by the June 2016 vote? Many, including those who accept we should leave the EU, say it isn’t, and that during the referendum campaign the winning side consistently argued there would be a deal.

The Brexiteers say it is so mandated, because the people voted for Brexit, and that means on whatever terms.

There is no way of clarifying who is right on this point; except, plainly, by asking “the people” to clarify.

Parliament is deadlocked. Boris Johnson himself now says we must “go back to the people” to break the deadlock. The taboo against a fresh vote on Brexit is broken. It is conceded that we require one — but why, then, not ask the people directly? Why mix up the general with the particular? We took the original decision with a specific referendum; why reconsider it via a general election?

The answer is politics. The Johnson calculation is that the Tories can wrap up the........

© Evening Standard