- Brexit can be stopped if Britain changes its mind, EU Council president says.
- “Wasn’t it David Davis himself who said ‘if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’?” Donald Tusk said on Tuesday morning.
- Theresa May insists there will be no second referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
LONDON – EU Council President Donald Tusk has told Britain that Brexit can be stopped.
Speaking to MEPs in Strasbourg on Tuesday morning, Tusk said Britain’s departure from the European Union can be cancelled if “there is a change of heart” among British people.
“If the UK Government sticks to its decision to leave, Brexit will become a reality – with all its negative consequences – in March next year unless there is a change of heart among our British friends,” he said.
“Wasn’t it David Davis himself who said ‘if a democracy cannot change its mind, it ceases to be a democracy’?”
He later posted this tweet:
Unless there is a change of heart among our British friends, #Brexit will become a reality – with all its negative consequences – March next year. We, here on the continent, haven’t had a change of heart. Our hearts are still open for you.
— Donald Tusk (@eucopresident) January 16, 2018
Fresh talk of a second referendum was ignited last week when former UKIP leader Nigel Farage said he was “changing his mind” on a second referendum as it could be a means of stopping the “whinging” of Remainers.
Theresa May’s government has repeatedly insisted that there will not be a second referendum.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson played down the chances of a second vote in an interview with The Guardian this week.
“We’ve just had one, and I think it went pretty well but it was something that caused an awful lot of heartache and soul-searching, and everybody went through the wringer on it,” he said.
The Labour Party leadership is yet to completely rule out a second referendum on Britain’s EU membership.
On Sunday, Jeremy Corbyn told ITV political editor Robert Peston that the party is “not supporting or calling for a second referendum” but refused to rule out backing one in the future, should public opinion shift significantly.
“I’m not convinced that the public is absolutely gagging for another Brexit referendum,” Corbyn said.
May under pressure to reveal Article 50 legal advice
The UK government is under pressure to publish legal advice it has received on whether Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty – the official mechanism for leaving the EU – can be reversed.
Ian Murray, Labour MP and supporter of anti-hard Brexit group Open Britain, today said Tusk’s comments have put more pressure on Theresa May to publish legal advice the government has received regarding Article 50.
“Until we’ve actually left, Brexit is a reversible process, that much is clear. If people decide that Brexit isn’t the right path for the country, they have the right to change their minds.
“The point has been made by legal experts, EU leaders and even the architect of Article 50, Lord Kerr. The Government should now be upfront with the public and publish its own legal advice on the matter.”