Menzies Campbell: Democracy demands a second Brexit referendum

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There are just a few months left to sort out the mess that the Westminster Government has made of Brexit but calls are getting louder across the UK – and especially in Scotland – for the people to be given a democratic final say before we leave the EU.

A recent big poll of Scottish opinion showed our nation supports the demand for a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal by a margin of 48 to 31 per cent.

Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell says the people of Britain must decide on the final outcome of Brexit

Former Liberal Democrat leader Menzies Campbell says the people of Britain must decide on the final outcome of Brexit

And if we get that referendum, Scotland would vote to stay in the EU by an even bigger majority than we did before – 66 to 34 per cent.

This shows why we, the people of Scotland, should be allowed to take back control of the process we started in the referendum of June 2016.

As a Liberal Democrat MP who represented a Scottish seat at Westminster for 28 years, I unequivocally support a People’s Vote, since Brexit is the biggest issue facing our country in a generation.

The SNP’s current voters want to stay in the EU by a margin of 83 to 17 per cent, while they back a People’s Vote on Brexit by a margin of more than four-to-one - 66 to 18 per cent, once ‘don’t knows’ have been removed.

Labour’s current supporters in Scotland would vote to stay in the EU by a margin of 74 to 26 per cent and support a People’s Vote by 64 to 21 per cent.

READ MORE: Poll: Only a quarter of Brits back Theresa May over Brexit

The public view on Brexit is shifting and it is incumbent on all of us from across the political spectrum who believe in democracy to come out on one side or the other of this crucial debate in our history.

This includes all political parties, including those with large mandates both at Holyrood and at Westminster. In history, our leaders will be judged on their actions today, not their warm words, when it comes to the fight for a People’s Vote on the final deal.

Two years on from the 2016 referendum, we find ourselves in a position where the promises made by those cheerleading the Brexit campaign are neither being met nor are likely to be, as the Government and its Brexiteer stalwarts desperately try to convince themselves that Brexit, as promised by the Leave campaign, can actually be implemented.

We will end up paying a £50 billion-plus divorce settlement for a worse relationship with our EU partners than the one which we enjoy today.

We will enter a 21-month transition period from 30 March next year onwards, where not only will we have to implement all EU rules and laws but we will have no say over them. We risk losing control over the Northern Irish border where Brexit raises real concerns that the troubles of the past could rear their ugly head again.

READ MORE: SNP warns no-deal Brexit leaves Scottish economy facing devastation

As for the Brexit Cheerleaders, they have either dodged cabinet responsibility – as in the cases of Boris Johnson and David Davis – or they have looked to remove themselves from the mess they have created.

Jacob Rees-Mogg is on record as having defended the move by a City firm that he helped to found to establish an investment fund in Ireland and Nigel Lawson is seeking the right to live in France.

The British people have a record of standing up for what they believe in and, as the polls show, have no intention of being hoodwinked.

The politicians in in Westminster cannot fix Brexit. The only way to sort this out is by handing the final decision back to the people.

Menzies Campbell was previously MP for North East Fife and Liberal Democrat leader