“All sides of this debate recognise that this is the most important decision our country has taken since the end of World War II; and that after 30 months of negotiation we are in crisis over it, with the end of March 2019 deadline looming. It is perfectly clear neither the British people nor their Parliament will unite behind the Prime Minister’s deal. That is why the Government decided not to proceed with the vote. The more people, including the MPs in last week’s debate, study the detail, the worse the deal looks, and not only because of the backstop issues.
“In these circumstances it is not irresponsible or insulting to put forward an alternative way to achieve resolution. The sensible thing is now to allow Parliament to vote on each of the forms of Brexit canvassed, including the Prime Minister’s deal. If they can’t reach agreement then the logical thing is to go back to the people. To describe such a course as an insult is a strange description of what would be the opportunity for them to instruct Parliament as to how to proceed. Far from being anti-democratic it would be the opposite, as indeed many senior figures in her party from past and present have been saying.
“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.
“My call is for Europe as well as our own Parliament to prepare for the possibility now gathering momentum that we may go back to the people in a further referendum. Again this is surely sensible given the impasse we have reached.
“I have always said, and did again in my speech on Friday in London, that I personally sympathise with the PM’s heavy burden in doing her job. I do not disrespect her at all. I understand her frustration. But I profoundly believe that the course she is pursuing will not work and is emphatically not in the national interest. And that’s the reason I am speaking out and shall continue to do so.”