Brexit: 'Third Referendum - Why Not - But in 40 Years' Time' - Economist

© SputnikBritish voters in the EU referendum.
British voters in the EU referendum. - Sputnik International
The Independent has launched a Final Say campaign for a referendum on the terms of Brexit. By Saturday more than 340,000 had already signed the petition according to the newspaper.

Sputnik has discussed this with Rodney Atkinson, founder of the website, a British political economist and a former ministerial advisor.

Sputnik: Why are the calls for a second vote on the UK's future in the EU appearing now?

Rodney Atkinson: I notice it's the Independent newspaper which is promoting this and it's not even a newspaper now. It's just an online newspaper, not an actual one that you can get hold of, has a very small readership, although it does have a tabloid version.

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Britain Election - Sputnik International
Final Say: Former UK Deputy PM Backs Campaign for Second Brexit Referendum
So these represent a very small minority of people inside and outside of parliament. I think over 70% of people want the government just to get on with Brexit and the reason for it now is that the Remainers are succeeding to a certain extent in raising a panic, saying how dreadful it would be if we leave without a deal. In other words, they're saying it would be dreadful if the United Kingdom became like 164 other countries in the world that govern themselves and are not members of the European Union.

That's not a very credible position to be in, but they, like the European Union negotiators, see Theresa May as a very, very weak prime minister and she has surrendered at every critical point and they think she's going to go on surrendering. So that's why I think the Remainers are trying to panic and return the people to project fear.

Sputnik: What's your take in terms of the likelihood of a second referendum happening?

Rodney Atkinson: Extremely unlikely. Parliament voted overwhelmingly against it. In fact, 400 of the 646 constituencies voted to leave and only 240-odd voted to remain. I just don't see it likely. After all, we had a confirming referendum back in 1975 that we would stay in the European Economy Community as it then was and now 40 years later we've had another referendum and another third referendum — why not — but probably in 40 years' time.

Sputnik: In a blow to Mrs. May Mr. Barnier rejected the customs plan by the UK prime minister, how much of a hindrance is this for Brexit negotiations? That's the question, but how long is Mrs. May going to be allowed to continue this course of this ship in this direction?

Rodney Atkinson: Well, I think what's happening at the moment is conservative MPs and Labour for that matter, are going back to their constituencies. There are 400 constituencies who voted to leave, and they're getting a real earful from their voters and they were getting in no uncertain term of how the wind is blowing when they go back. So it seems to me that Mrs.

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May is now dead in the water, and she will face, I assume, a challenge to her leadership and I can't see her surviving. Even the European Union whom she has been perpetually seeking to appease in her so-called negotiations, they're pretty damning in their descriptions of her. One leading Eurocrat from the EU said that it is embarrassing to talk serious matters with her. So all in all, I think she is by far the worst British prime minister we've had since the Second World War. She should be going pretty soon.

Sputnik: Do you not go with a lot of these experts who say that a no deal scenario is the worst possible scenario and is going to see maybe 5% to 15% drop in the GDP straight away, you're saying that you're confident that everything will be fine, you have no doubts whatsoever then?

Rodney Atkinson: The only countries that have had massive, 5%, 10% and even 25% drops in GDP are only members of the European Union. So leaving that disastrous organization is hardly likely to have a similar effect on us. Obviously, there will be a transition period. I don't refer to the one that Mrs.

Flags are arranged at the EU headquarters as Britain and the EU launch Brexit talks in Brussels, June 19, 2017 - Sputnik International
Breaking Up is Hard to Do: Over 300,000 Britons Demand 2nd Brexit Referendum
May and the EU are talking about, our own transition from being a member to a non-member will take time, and we need to establish other trading relationships, but given our strength, transatlantic and within the Commonwealth, and of course, historic ties to other parts of the world like South America then I can see we are in a far better place than any other country probably to trade on freely with the rest of the world despite not being in the European Union, which severely restricts our trade and raises are costs by its tariffs.

The views and opinions expressed by the expert do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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