Second Brexit referendum is possible?
Theresa May does not have enough votes to get a "hard Brexit" through parliament and this may force her to call a second referendum on Britain's final deal with the EU, according to Pantheon Macroeconomics analyst Samuel Tombs.
He puts the chance of a second referendum at 40%, according to a note he sent to clients yesterday. Because of that, he estimates there is "a 25% chance that Brexit doesn't happen."
The note is eyebrow-raising for two reasons: He is one of very few UK analysts who think that a second Brexit referendum is in any way likely.
And he was alone in predicting the result of the June 2017 general election correctly. He argues that since the June 2016 referendum, British people have changed their minds. A consistent but small majority of voters polled now believe the decision to leave was “wrong”.
The crucial pivot for all this is that the government lost a vote that included an amendment to the Brexit bill in December. That amendment now gives Parliament the right to vote on the Brexit deal at the end of negotiations — all but assuring that any deal will need to be soft rather than hard, or the entire project risks being scrapped.
On stats, showed that there are just 176 Remain MPs in Conservative government out of 317 and only 50 of 317 hardline “Leave Means Leave” MPs, Brexit simply doesn't have enough votes to get through the Commons unless it includes a deal that keeps the UK closely aligned with the customs union and the single market, Tombs says.
"It is becoming increasingly clear, however, that none of the forms of Brexit that the EU is willing to tolerate can command enough support from her own party's MPs, or would please enough of the population for the current government to stand a realistic chance of winning the next election. Mrs. May might find that the only way to break the log-jam and save her premiership is to consult the country again," Tombs says.
"Accordingly, a second referendum will become an appealing option for Mrs. May towards the end of this year or in early 2019. She could claim that the first referendum was held when the public didn't have the full facts, and she could argue that the decision was so momentous that the public should be allowed to voice their opinion again. It's not guaranteed that parliament would vote for a second referendum—at present, Labour does not advocate one—but it would be hard for MPs to claim that the public should be prevented from having another say."
Tombs ranks the chances like this: Another referendum possibility - 40%, Brexit is cancelled - 25%, Soft Brexit - 40%, Canada style Brexit - 25%, No deal, cliff-edge Brexit - 10%.