The Green Party has set out plans to offer voters a chance to change their minds on Brexit by offering a second referendum on any deal negotiated by the government.
Co-leader Caroline Lucas says people should be given a final say through a ‘ratification referendum’ - with the option of remaining in the EU if they think the UK’s exit plan isn’t up to scratch.
“A democracy worthy of the name must mean people having a real say over the major decisions that affect their lives,” she told activists and workers at Space Studios in London, an art studio which has benefitted from EU funding.
“Whoever wins this election has a mandate to negotiate on behalf of the British people – but that does not mean that they have a right to impose a final deal. Instead we demand a ratification referendum which gives people the option to remain in the EU if they wish, or to vote back the government’s deal.”
Lucas dismissed claims the pledge was simply a re-run of last year’s referendum.
“This is giving people an informed say over our shared future. If the government is so convinced that they’ll get a decent deal then there’s no reason that they wouldn’t trust people to have a final say,” she said.
The Brighton MP was joined by Molly Scott Cato, the Greens’ EU spokesperson who is running against Labour’s Thangam Debbonaire in Bristol West.
She said: “Take back control was the strap line which persuaded many to vote Leave in the referendum last year. It’s now clear what that meant. A power grab by the Tory right so they can make a bonfire of regulations which protect our rights and environment.
“A ratification referendum must give back control. People must be given an opportunity to vote for the future on offer at the end of the article 50 process, or decide whether actually we are better off remaining a full member of the EU.”
Former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will also focus on Brexit in his first major speech of the election campaign today - highlighting analysis by the Centre for Economics and Business Research showing the average UK household is set to be £500 worse off this year than it was in 2016.
And last week Shadow Brexit Secretary Keir Starmer said Labour would bring in new laws to protect the rights of workers and EU nationals - and give Parliament a possible veto on any deal with Brussels.