Brexit: Theresa May's ministers downplay chance of a second vote

Theresa May seen last week says a second Brexit vote would damage irreparably British politics

As the prime minister faces incoming fire over her return from Brussels last week empty-handed, and the clock ticking down to exit day without an apparent plan B, does she protest too much about another vote?

Meanwhile, The Mail on Sunday can reveal that Mrs May's deputy, David Lidington has held a series of secret meetings with Labour MPs to build a "coalition of the willing" to force a new European Union vote.

"For me, the arguments against a second referendum are overwhelming, yet there is a real risk that anti-democratic forces will get their way".

May will update on Brexit negotiations after reports that senior figures in her Conservative Party are laying the groundwork for another referendum, believing it is the only way to break the impasse.

Blair, who was premier between 1997 and 2007, in turn accused the Conservative leader of being "irresponsible".

Mr Fox said it would be impossible to argue that the SNP should not call a second referendum on Scotland's place in the United Kingdom if campaigners to say in the European Union were given a chance to reverse the decision on Brexit.

"The sensible thing is now to allow Parliament to vote on each of the forms of Brexit canvassed including the Prime Minister's deal".

Last week, a group of Labour ministers of Parliament met with David Lidington, who works for May, to argue that another public vote is necessary. Wrting for the Daily Mail, he said: "The stark truth is that the elite in our country, including a large number of MPs, have never accepted the result of the referendum and have sought by any means that came to hand to thwart its result".

According to reports on Sunday, defacto deputy prime minister David Lidington and chief of staff Gavin Barwell are secretly advocating for a second vote.

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But yesterday the Brexiteer International Trade Secretary Liam Fox, Education Secretary Damian Hinds and this morning both Amber Rudd and the Business Secretary Greg Clark all backed the idea. "Where does that end up?"

In response, Mr Lidington tweeted a link to a record of parliamentary proceedings in which he explained how a second vote could be "divisive not decisive".

Prime Minister Theresa May throws a ball for a dog as she leaves church in her constituency.

Should his party fail in its efforts to secure an election, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has committed to "all options", including a second referendum.

But Labour frontbencher Andrew Gwynne told the BBC: "We can't move to the next stage until Parliament has decided whether or not to back the prime minister's deal".

"What is irresponsible, however, is to try to steamroller MPs into accepting a deal they genuinely think is a bad one with the threat that if they do not fall into line, the government will have the country crash out without a deal", Mr Blair said.

Asked whether his party would campaign for Brexit under a Labour deal if there were to be another referendum on the issue, he said: "Let's wait and see".

But with many options and little time before Britain is set to leave the bloc on March 29, May's critics - like former minister Jo Johnson - are accusing her of "running down the clock".

It is understood that Mrs May will dismiss talk of a possible second Brexit referendum, warning MPs that holding another public vote would cause irreparable damage to the integrity of British politics.

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