British lawmakers, celebrities call for ‘people’s vote’ on Brexit

LONDON (Reuters) – Lawmakers, celebrities and business leaders launched a campaign on Sunday to call for a vote on any final Brexit deal, stepping up a campaign to try to stop what they describe as Britain’s damaging departure from the European Union.

Anti-Brexit demonstrators wave EU and Union flags outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, January 30, 2018. REUTERS/Toby Melville – RC14B6125890

At a launch in north London, lawmakers from both the governing Conservative Party and opposition Labour joined with hundreds of others to press for what they described as a “people’s vote” on Brexit.

Both Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives and the main opposition Labour Party have ruled out a second referendum after Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc almost two years ago, and the country is due to leave the EU in March next year.

Actor Patrick Stewart, a supporter of the People’s Vote campaign, said campaigners were not asking for a second referendum, but rather wanted “another chance to consider what the terms of this divorce are going to be”.

“As time has gone by … the information that we are receiving about the terms and conditions of that separation are quite unlike the terms and conditions that were spoken of so loosely during the 2016 campaign,” he told the BBC.

Some opinion polls have shown a slight shift in favour of remaining in the European Union, but there has yet to be a decisive change in attitudes and many in Britain say they have become increasingly bored by Brexit.

May has repeatedly said she will deliver what she calls the will of the people and on Sunday Foreign Minister Boris Johnson voiced optimism for the kind of deal Britain could win.

“People had a vote, it was a great vote, and they voted with a substantial majority to leave the EU,” he told the BBC.

He went on to directly answer Stewart, who he mistakenly suggested had worked on Star Wars. Stewart had a role in “Star Trek: The Next Generation”.

“(We) will be able to boldly go again to areas that perhaps we have neglected … friendly wonderful places where we can renew old friendships, rebuild relationships and develop fantastic new free trade deals.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg

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