Best for Britain, a multimillion dollar anti-Brexit group, has launched its formal campaign for a second referendum on the country’s membership of the European Union.
The pro-remain campaign group, backed by US Jewish billionaire George Soros, unveiled a roadmap at the launch of its manifesto on Friday that called on MPs to force a referendum with an option on the ballot paper whether to keep Britain in the 28-member bloc.
Best for Britain urged both sides involved in Brexit negotiations to welcome a second vote in less than three years to prevent the UK from leaving the EU, arguing that the issue was diverting time and energy from other political concerns.
The group warned that there was a danger of the political establishment “sleepwalking the country over the Brexit finish line” in March without any clarity over whether the deal will be good for the UK.
“Give us a straight choice between your deal on the best terms you can get or decide to stay in now we see the costs of leaving,” said Mark Malloch Brown, the group’s chairman.
“The people instructed the government to negotiate a withdrawal from the EU, now the government owes people an answer: what terms have you got, are we going to be worse or better off?” he noted.
Best for Britain suggested that a referendum could be held in early 2019 and Brussels would allow London to have a second referendum as late as February or March.
“A people’s vote will be held before the end of March 2019. We believe this is the right thing to do so that everyone’s voice can be heard,” Best For Britain chief executive Eloise Todd said. “But this cannot be a debate fought out solely within the walls of Westminster. We’ll be talking to people on the doorstep about how Brexit is affecting them.”
“For too long we’ve been asked to swallow the lie that the votes of 17 million people – with their individual histories, experiences, and ideas – gave [Prime Minister Theresa] May a clear mandate to deliver whatever Brexit she can fashion, no matter how different that is from its original conception or how damaging it might prove to be,” she added.
“But I say to everybody out there: don’t let them force feed you such nonsense. However you voted, you deserve to know there is a deal on offer that the Government is intent on burying,” Todd concluded.
Under the group’s timetable, a second referendum would be secured by an amendment to the Government’s Withdrawal Agreement and Implementation Bill (WAIB) in the autumn and if backed by a majority of MPs, the amendment would commit London to holding a vote before the formal date of Brexit on March 29, 2019.
Soros has reportedly donated some $555,000 to Best for Britain, which was set up last year by anti-Brexit campaigner Gina Miller.
Soros has made no effort to hide his disregard for Brexit, a decision that 52 percent of Britons made during a referendum in 2016 in a bid to create more jobs by breaking free from the bloc’s regulations and stopping immigration into the UK.
Johnson calls for more ‘guts’ in Brexit talks
Meanwhile, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned on Friday that negotiations with the EU were heading towards “meltdown,” saying that Brexit supporters risked getting a far worse deal than they had expected.
Johnson blasted the British government’s Brexit talks strategy and said it lacked “guts,” suggesting that US President Donald Trump could do a better job.
Johnson said the government was reaching a phase in negotiations “where we are much more combative with Brussels.”
London is committed to leaving the EU’s single market and customs union after Brexit, which officially takes place on 29 March next year. A transition period is currently set to last until 31 December, 2020.
The British government has faced fierce criticism both at home and by the EU for its lack of clarity on its Brexit strategy.