Former British PM calls for new referendum on Brexit

Elias Hubbard
July 23, 2018

He also suggested the United Kingdom could refuse to pay its so-called divorce bill, a payment from the United Kingdom to the European Union estimated to be about £39bn, if it does not get a trade deal.

Mrs May's political vulnerability was exposed by the survey which found voters would prefer Mr Boris Johnson, who quit as Britain's foreign minister two weeks ago, to negotiate with the European Union and lead the Conservative Party into the next election.

Douglas Gurr, Amazon's United Kingdom country manager, told a meeting of business leaders that if Britain crashes out of the European Union without a trade deal, it will spark "civil unrest" within two weeks.

The intervention follows a tide of anger over May's Brexit White Paper, which led to the resignation of two of her most senior Cabinet ministers (Davis and then-foreign secretary Boris Johnson) and triggered a slump in Conservative support.

Mr Raab said critics were mistaken to think Mrs May would not walk away without a deal if she had to.

In particular, 'the citizens who will be affected by the withdrawal of the United Kingdom, as well as the public administrations that serve them, should also prepare for 30 March 2019, ' the statement said.

A quarter of British voters would consider backing a new far-right anti-Islam party, according to a poll on Sunday, in a sign of voters shifting to the extremes of politics amid discontent over the government's Brexit strategy.

Asked if that meant Britain has a legal requirement to pay, he replied: "Almost certainly yes, just as it's possible that there might be sums of money due to us on departure".

The meeting was convened by Brexit Secretary Dominic Raab, and The Times said Gurr's comments "stunned those present", with some disagreeing with his assessment.

"What we're not going to do, and I'm not going to get drawn into the selective snippets that are leaked and make hair-raising stories".

Ministers are still being persuaded that Theresa May's Chequers agreement is a good idea, the new Brexit secretary had said.

He noted the United Kingdom is actively planning for a no deal Brexit in terms of "the allocation of money, the preparation of our treaty relations" and is also "hiring extra border staff".

Thirty-eight percent of people would vote for a new right-wing party that is committed to Brexit, while nearly a quarter would support an explicitly far-right anti-immigrant, anti-Islam party, the poll found.

It comes as former Trump adviser Steve Bannon and pro-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage discuss plans to form a new right-wing movement to take advantage of the government's problems.

Despite his star fading somewhat over the past year, Johnson remains a popular figure both within the Tory party and among prospective voters, with his support likely to grow if he is seen by MPs as someone who could prevent votes leaching to populist parties.

YouGov spoke to 1,668 adults in Britain on July 19 and 20, according to The Sunday Times, which did not provide other details about how the poll was conducted.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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