By Tayfun Salci and Gokhan Kurtaran
LONDON (AA) – A new referendum on European Union membership would cause the U.K. to remain in the bloc, a veteran British politician has stated.
Lord John Olav Kerr, one of the architects of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, thinks public opinion on Brexit has changed since the 2016 referendum.
Speaking to Anadolu Agency in London, Kerr underlined that more than 200 polls since the referendum show that decisive change.
“If the 2016 referendum is rerun, I think it would have the opposite result,” he said.
“That’s principally because the young people in this country, who did not vote in large numbers last time, now are mobilized.”
Kerr said a million young people will take to London’s streets on Oct. 19 to demand a second referendum, which is referred to as the ‘People’s Vote’ by its supporters.
“I think this country is better aware now what leaving would mean,” he said.
He explained that the destination was not defined before, but now the public is aware of where the country is heading with Brexit.
“I think it is pretty clear that if we do get a referendum, and I think we will, then that referendum will result in the decision to stay in the European Union.”
– Brexit extension
Kerr said he is “confident” that Prime Minister Boris Johnson will ask for an extension from the EU if a Brexit deal cannot be reached by Oct. 19.
If the prime minister chooses not to request for an extension, there would be “consequences,” he said, adding the courts would resume a case on the matter.
The House of Commons gave Johnson a mandate to request an extension if the government cannot reach a deal with the EU by the end of next week’s European Council summit, which will be held Oct. 17-18, or parliament refuses to leave without a deal.
Johnson has repeatedly said the U.K. would leave the union with or without a deal on Oct. 31 and he would not request another extension to the Brexit deadline.
Kerr thinks that former premier David Cameron was “guilty” for heading for a referendum in 2016 with a very short campaign.
“I think the last three years have been very educational. British people have learnt a lot, and I think that’s one of the reasons why the opinion polls have switched so decisively,” he said.
“If we get a second referendum, my side — the remain side — would win it.”
U.K. voters decided to leave the EU in a 2016 referendum with a small margin.
The government triggered Article 50 – a two-year-long process to be followed by any member state that would leave – on March 29, 2017.
The deadline of March 29, 2019 was extended twice at the request of the previous British government led by Theresa May after she repeatedly failed to pass her deal through the House of Commons.
U.K. and EU officials have started intensive talks on a possible deal after a principal agreement was reached by the sides in meetings between Britain and Ireland’s premiers Thursday and then between Brexit Secretary Stephen Barclay and the EU’s chief negotiator Michel Barnier on Friday.
Talks will continue until the European Council summit next week in Brussels and the possible agreement will be explored until the end of the summit.