A running list of leaders calling for a do-over of the Brexit referendum


Britain’s prime minister Theresa May officially triggered Brexit March 29, by sending a notification to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty that binds together members of the European Union. In doing so, she said she was respecting the will of the British people, who narrowly approved exiting the EU in a referendum last June.

The move is as contentious now as it was then. Not many feel assured about the way Britain is approaching its departure from the 24-year-old union. Since the British people don’t yet know how exit negotiations with the EU will turn out, they argue that a second referendum should take place once the terms of leaving are clear.

A second referendum may or may not be sufficient to legally revoke Article 50, but that hasn’t stopped many UK and European leaders from lobbying for it. Here’s a running list of those since March 29.

“When the referendum was held, nobody really knew what it would be about—not the British people, not even the political class.” – Katarina Barley, general secretary of Germany’s Social Democrats, April 12.

“The procedure is a two-year procedure and maybe during these procedures you still can have strong feelings for Europe and decide in the House of Commons you should think twice about leaving your family.” – Xavier Bettel, prime minister of Luxembourg, April 2.

“I believe that there needs to be a second referendum or a mandate of a general election.” – Michael Heseltine, former deputy prime minister and current member of parliament in the House of Lords, March 30.

“If the economy is not in great shape after two years, public opinion on Brexit could yet shift.” – Martin Sorrell, head of WPP, March 30.

“Though the Prime Minister said there is it no turning back, if we come to our senses we will not leave the EU. Article 50 is revocable. At any time from today we can decide we want to stay on.” – Karan Bilimoria, chairman of Cobra Beer and current member of parliament in the House of Lords, March 30.

“If the facts change or become clearer—which they weren’t in the campaign—people are entitled to change their minds,” Peter Mandelson, former EU commissioner and current member of parliament in the House of Lords, March 29.

“I voted for Brexit, but now Article 50 has been triggered I want a second referendum.” – Brexit voter on Brexit day, March 29.

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