Tory donor calls for second referendum on Brexit

Sir Simon Robertson. Picture: Cambridge University
Sir Simon Robertson. Picture: Cambridge University
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A Tory donor has called for a second Brexit referendum as left-wing group Momentum said it would consult its members on what stance to take on EU withdrawal.

Former Rolls-Royce chairman Sir Simon Robertson insisted he is “deeply depressed” at the tone of the Brexit debate and wants a new vote on any exit deal agreed with Brussels.

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He told the Observer: “I think it is complete balderdash to say the people have spoken, therefore you can’t go back. The people can speak again - why can’t we have another vote on it?

“We had a brilliant deal with Europe. We had an opt-out on ever-closer union.

“We are now going to end up with one where, at the end of things, we won’t have a final say.”

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The comments came as the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting grassroots campaign group Momentum announced it would ask members later in the year if a Brexit deal should be voted down if it does not meet the six prerequisites set out by Labour.

The group said it is taking no position on any Brexit motions at the upcoming Labour conference where Mr Corbyn is expected to come under pressure to back a “people’s vote” on withdrawal terms.

Momentum’s national co-ordinator Laura Parker said: “As the Tories continue to bungle Brexit and risk Britain crashing out with no deal, we will, like other organisations from the Labour movement, be asking our members what they think about the issue - and supporting the Labour leadership to defeat this disastrous Tory Brexit in Parliament if it fails Labour’s six tests.”

Labour tests for a Brexit deal include calls for any withdrawal agreement to deliver the same benefits as the single market and customs union, and a fair migration system.