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Second referendum?

Lord Kerr, the author of Article 50 has today called for a UK wide debate about halting the Brexit negotiations and process.

Introduction

Lord Kerr, the author of Article 50 has today called for a UK wide debate about halting the Brexit negotiations and process through his fear of the “disastrous consequences” which he maintains are becoming clear.

The facts

Lord Kerr has, along with a number of other peers, written an open letter urging Parliament to re think Brexit. The letter stated “We see our society, economy and politics becoming ever more undermined due to the impact of Brexit. We recognise that a narrow majority voted to leave the European Union, but the disastrous consequences are now becoming ever clearer - every day.”

This is not the first time Lord Kerr has expressed the view that Article 50 is revocable, maintaining that it would be perfectly legal to take it back, whilst accepting that politically such revocation would be rather more difficult to reconcile.

Meanwhile, the momentum for a second European referendum appears to be gathering pace. ICM pollsters have reported a six point increase from six months earlier to whether there should be a second referendum to allow people to decide whether the UK leaves or not, based on the outcome of the negotiations. Admittedly quite a different position to Lord Kerr, but both stances leading to the same outcome.

The poll results were released today following David Davis, the Brexit Secretary’s departure from negotiations in Brussels after less than one hour. Whilst the 96 strong UK committee of negotiators remain in Brussels for further talks, news is still awaited on talks surrounding the UK’s access to the single market post Brexit and, fundamentally, any deal for the financial services and insurance market. Further meetings between David Davis and the EU are scheduled for later this week and through the summer, ahead of the EU Conference in October when the EU will assess whether adequate progress has been made during negotiations.

Comment

Irrespective of Theresa May’s instruction to the Cabinet today to have a good summer break and return ready for hard business, the clock remains ticking for the UK’s departure from the European Union. The UK’s financial services market has responded to Brexit in a multitude of ways, ranging from relocation of business to Europe to contingency planning. Guarantees to protect and promote the financial services sector are eagerly awaited.