Could the UK really reverse its decision to leave?
There has been a recent surge in media talk on the possibility of a new referendum to reverse the Brexit process. This article is not to say that Brexit should or should not be stopped, but it exists to highlight that there is only one option for pro-EU campaigners to get their wish.
The answer: an election followed by a referendum.
Without an election, undoing Brexit is impossible.
The chances of a new election are very unlikely, but if it were to happen, what would need to be the outcome?
Labour’s position, while accepting that the UK will leave the EU, is flimsy at best. A hung parliament with an increased Liberal Democrat contingent and Labour just short of an overall majority could be enough to persuade Labour to back a second referendum. The SNP – known for supporting new referendums themselves – could also be part of such a deal.
A second vote could hurt Labour in the long run, but a chance to be in power with a solid confidence and supply deal from two left of centre parties could tempt them to support such a vote.
In addition to this, a referendum would be the only legitimate option to reverse the decision. Simply un-triggering Article 50 would be undemocratic in the context of Britain’s flirtation with referendums, and while there would be outcries over a new vote, it would be the only reasonable way of reversing the process.
A new election is extremely unlikely, and time is running out, but in the new paradigm of Brexit, Trump and Macron just about anything could be possible.