LONDON, United Kingdom – A new cross-party campaign for a referendum on Britain's EU departure deal was to launch on Sunday, insisting the British public – and not just politicians – should be given a say.
Calling itself the People's Vote campaign, the push wants a referendum so that the public can decide whether they think the final Brexit agreement will leave Britain better or worse off. (READ: 'Painful': Citizens count Brexit's personal cost)
The campaign was to launch in London with speakers from the governing Conservative Party, as well as the opposition Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green parties, and "Star Trek" actor Patrick Stewart.
It is run by Open Britain, which grew out of the official Remain campaign of the 2016 referendum. It includes seven other anti-Brexit groups who operate out of the same London office, plus Wales for Europe.
"Whether you think the government will negotiate a good deal or bad deal, Brexit is definitely a big deal," said Open Britain executive director James McGrory.
"Brexit is not inevitable. What the government comes back with, not what was promised in the referendum, will be the real deal. It should not be a done deal.
"Brexit will affect everybody in the country, which is why it should not be left to 650 politicians to decide our future but 65 million people."
Short on time
Liberal Democrat MP Layla Moran was expected to tell the launch rally: "It may seem like the odds are stacked against us as a movement, but fighting for what you believe in is never easy.
"We are short on time, but we have people power on our side. Together, we are on the verge of something extraordinary."
Brexit remains a fractious topic in Britain, with less than a year to go until the country quits the EU.
In the seismic June 2016 referendum on Britain's EU membership, 52 percent of the UK's British, Irish and Commonwealth residents, plus Britons abroad who had lived in Britain in the last 15 years, voted to leave.
Britain is set to exit the EU in March 2019. A transition period will run until the end of 2020.
The transition deal will not be finalised unless Britain and the other 27 EU countries agree on divorce terms by October -- Brussels' deadline to wrap up talks.
Britain has so far vowed to quit the single market and customs union, while at the same time aiming to keep the closest possible ties with the bloc.
A ComRes online survey of 2,019 British adults last month, published in the Daily Express newspaper, which is staunchly pro-Leave, found that 35 percent want a second referendum while 65 percent do not. – Rappler.com