Lib Dem Commons bid for second Brexit referendum resoundingly defeated

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Tory MPs laughed and jeered as a Lib Dem push for a second referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU was resoundingly defeated in the Commons.

Sir Vince Cable told MPs that many regarded the referendum result as a “disastrous error” as he moved a motion calling for a “people’s vote” on the final Brexit deal.

His party’s non-binding motion, which also suggested the possibility of creating a “government of national unity” to handle Brexit, was defeated by 299 votes to 13.

Labour abstained from the vote, but backbenchers John Mann and Dennis Skinner went through the voting lobbies with the Tories.

Speaking prior to the vote, Sir Vince warned MPs that Brexit day could lead to “anarchy” for UK trade.

He said: “If Brexit day ever happens, it will be a day of mourning and it is very difficult to see where the positive story is going to come from to help the country turn over a new leaf.”

Sir Vince later said there appeared to be an “implicit acknowledgement” from the Government that “crashing out” of the EU is “less and less plausible” due to the changing international environment created by Mr Trump.

He went on: “The United States is not willing to abide by its rulings, it’s not willing to staff its judicial panels, as an organisation it’s completely hollow.

“Were we to fall back on World Trade Organisation rules, we’re effectively falling back on anarchy.”

Tory former minister Marcus Jones warned the Lib Dems did “not trust the people” over Brexit while Cabinet Office minister Chloe Smith said just 7.4% of voters backed the party and its second referendum stance at last year’s general election.

Ms Smith said: “We are respecting the result of the referendum and we are delivering Brexit – there will be no second referendum.”

Shadow Brexit minister Jenny Chapman said Labour “doesn’t want an exit from Brexit” as she rejected the non-binding motion.

On the proposal to form a “government of national unity”, Ms Chapman said: “Of course the Labour Party is open to working across the House to find a consensus and shape the Brexit process to protect jobs and the economy.

“But this motion calls instead for a government of national unity, in other words a coalition, and I know this is the Lib Dems’ answer to any moment of political crisis – but we do not agree, the proposal in the motion poses more questions than it answers.”

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