Some campaigners believe a second referendum may be one way to resolve the Brexit problems facing Theresa May.

by Amit Roy

WHAT’S there not to understand? After all, remain means Remain.

By all means, let’s enforce the democratic will of the people as expressed in the June 2016 referendum. What really matters is how London voted, the engine of the British economy.

And the capital voted to Remain – 2.26 million Londoners (59.9 per cent) voted to stay in the European Union. The Remain vote was an overwhelming 79 per cent in Lambeth, 78 per cent in Hackney and 76 per cent in Haringey. And Brixton said no to Brexit. Is there a danger there will be “civil disturbances” if their democratic rights are frustrated by
the Brextremists?

The Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), with whom prime minister Theresa May has struck a
Faustian deal, appears to have forgotten that out of 790,000 voters in Northern Ireland, 62.7 per cent voted to Remain. And Scotland voted 62 per cent to Remain, so why should it be dragged out of the EU by the English shires that do not have Scottish interests
at heart?

In a general election, adjoining constituencies can return Tory and Labour MPs, so is there a way of allowing parts of the UK, notably London, to stay in the EU, while permitting Jacob Rees-Mogg, Nigel Farage and the doctrinaire Brexiteers to have their way in Wales (only 47.5 per cent to Remain) and those parts which went the other way?

The counter argument is that the UK, as a whole, voted to Leave. But the problem is the Leave vote was not uniform across the country. Out of 33,551,983 people who voted, 17,410,742 (51.89 per cent) chose Leave against 16,141,241 (48.11 per cent) for Remain.

Since England and Scotland are represented as separate nations in football, rugby, cricket, athletics and much else, is there a way of giving people what they voted for in the referendum? Now that would be truly democratic – if it were possible.

It may be that a second referendum, if it happens, might produce a majority for Remain.

“Wouldn’t 17 million people be outraged at being cheated?” is the response from the Rees-Mogg/ Farage lobby.

The result of the last referendum could only be overturned if some of those who voted Leave now voted Remain. That’s simple maths. They would hardly be outraged. Also, analysis by YouGov shows that the number of Remain supporters grows by 235,000 each year – mostly young people reaching 18 – while the number of Leave backers falls by
260,000 because of mortality rates.

No doubt, many people would still be angry if Remain won, but the figure would be under 17 million.

Just a factual correction.

What is required is a withdrawal deal, not so different from the one the prime minister has negotiated, that does not rub the noses of Remain or Leave voters in the dirt.

We might as well recognise that Britain is an island nation which has been unhappily wedded to continental Europe of which it does not instinctively feel a part. Britain would like to be instead with the likes of the US, China and India, all of whom, let us be clear, will drive hard bargains.

One more thing. It has been said that many of the 200 MPs who supported the prime minister in the confidence motion did so because their jobs were at stake. But equally, I suspect quite a few of the 117 who voted against her did so either because they were bitter that they had been forced to resign or saw no prospect of personal gain.