Verhofstadt dashes hopes of 2nd-referendum campaign

As Parliament dispersed last night, after the most crushing government defeat in history and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s calling of today’s no-confidence vote, all too predictably Labour centrists and their supporters gathered in Parliament Square to shout for a new referendum, rather than lobbying MPs for votes to bring down the Tories.

But this morning EU official Guy Verhofstadt – the European Parliament’s ‘Brexit Coordinator’ – removed any prospect of a new referendum overturning Brexit and keeping the UK inside the EU:

The European elections take place 23 May. The earliest a new referendum could happen is mid-June and realistically later still.

SKWAWKBOX comment:

The campaign for a so-called “people’s vote” has long been out of time, but Verhofstadt has removed all debating room – and in the most disparaging terms. The UK will leave the EU and the choice facing the nation is whether it will be a toxic Tory environment that we’re living in after it – or a Labour one with human rights, environmental protections and prosperity for all at its heart.

If Labour ‘PV’-campaigners do not now turn their attention to bringing down the government and winning a general election, it will be a frank admission that their agenda was always something else.

The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal or here for a monthly donation via GoCardless. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.

If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.


  1. I think that many of us always suspected their agenda had twin destinations, another referendum and the destruction of the left.

    1. Of course we all want a GE but achieving one is far from certain, we will all have to wait till this evening’s vote to find out
      It is however difficult to see how a second referendum can lead to the destruction of the left when the vast majority of both Labour Party members and voters support having one.

      1. lundiel 16/01/2019 at 12:58 pm · ·

        Cracked record, change it.

        Is that really the best you could manage?

        I would suggest that at least attempting to make a case that supports the views you prothletise would be a more constructive way forward.

      2. timfrom 16/01/2019 at 3:16 pm

        Well thanks for kindly pointing out my spelling error but I would argue that nit-picking over spelling to attack a person whilst ignoring the issues raised is one of the definitions of trolling.

      3. SteveH

        “Well thanks for kindly pointing out my spelling error but I would argue that nit-picking over spelling to attack a person whilst ignoring the issues raised is one of the definitions of trolling”.

        The mark of the troll is persistent baiting. On this site, you come top of that class!

      4. timfrom 16/01/2019 at 5:40 pm · ·

        The mark of the troll is persistent baiting. On this site, you come top of that class!

        I am not baiting,
        Could you please explain why it is wrong to point out when someone’s opinion is contrary to the facts and available evidence. Surely you wouldn’t want people to be taken in and deceived by skilfully crafted falsehoods.

        It is worth pointing out that when challenged the majority are unable to provide any evidence to support their assertions and I hope these exchanges will give others pause for thought about accepting the validity of these unevidenced opinions. You may choose to differ but I prefer to form my opinions on the basis of facts and weight of evidence rather than misguided and/or deceptive empty rhetoric.

      5. Like you never attack anyone. All you rely on is repeating the lie about the alleged popularity of a second referendum that flies in the face of logic.

      6. lundiel 16/01/2019 at 5:00 pm · ·

        Like you never attack anyone. All you rely on is repeating the lie about the alleged popularity of a second referendum that flies in the face of logic.

        I don’t think I attack anyone, as you put it, I have simply pointed out that their views are misguided and lack evidence. Like I have frequently done with yourself. It is notable that to date despite our many exchanges you have completely failed to provide any evidence that supports your views when I have questioned their validity.

        You could always attempt to prove me wrong by explaining why despite all the available evidence indicating that the majority of the Labour party support a second referendum you choose to profess that acknowledging that this is the case defies logic.

      7. Steve – Was walking and talking with some old friends today. All solid Labour voters; two having served as local members in working class wards (and with experience of being labelled ‘lefties’ during the Blair years). That’s why the patronising and insulting ‘prolier than thou’ shit doesn’t work.

        A variety of takes on the situation; but all fearful of the state of a country that has been come a sad regressive joke to their kids and friends across Europe. Obviously – all solidly ‘Remain’. And all waiting for the Labour Party to actually recognise that this is the majority view in the Party and call for the suspension/withdrawal of Article 50 in parallel with calling for a general election.

        None sanguine about a third referendum, but seeing no other way out of the Tory mess of Brexit and the con job that has been perpetrated on the populace by the hedge fund brigade represented by Rees Mogg and friends to the detriment of the majority in the country.

        I guess the playground yah-boo stuff here is, in essence a testament to how far detached the knee-jerk ‘Leave’ position (aka ‘Friends of the ludicrous ERG’) is from any credible evidence – and the majority of the Party, who actually are concerned about a further economic impact on the worst off..

      8. You have no idea. No one other than the saboteurs wants a second referendum, Westminster won’t stand it. And the real.”people ” who you LibDems don’t represent are getting very, very angry.

      9. According to BBC news tonight, only 100/Labour MPs support a second referendum. It seems like you’ve been posting bollocks again.

      10. “you LibDems”

        How’s the weather out there of Fuller’s Earth, playing with the ERG?

    2. Yep, even the rabidly anti Corbyn, pro Remain, New Statesman, no longer believes a second referendum is a goer https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/01/labour-mps-pushing-second-referendum-are-doomed-fail

      But still our constantly posting three or four PV trolls keep up their fantasy claims on here. Give it up . Just report back to Mandelson that we’re not buying it. PV is clearly only a weapon to try and split our Party. It has no real tactical value beyond that, except also to guarantee losing Labour our millions of working class Leave voters in key constituencies..

    1. Trump wall bad! EU wall good! No wonder people have had enough of the hypocrisy!

  2. Verhofstadt has not dashed the hopes of a 2nd referendum. It is not surprising that Skwarky tries to spin everything against it. For some unknown reason wants to paint it as a desire of the far right of the Party, when in reality it is the vast majority of the members who want a second vote.

    1. Of course. The ‘Leftory’ postion is so contradictory and ridiculous – not to mention simply in denial – in supporting far-right policy that you’d laugh if the issues weren’t so serious.

      It’s an interesting psychological phenomenon where you adopt the opponent’s mindset, huddle in a corner and vilify allies as all infiltrators or conspirators.

      One side-effect is, of course, to validate the narrative of the *real* antagonists.

  3. These right wing Labour MPs would rather stay in Europe under the draconian Neo-Liberal corporate gravy train than get the Tories out of office.

    1. The Lexiters helping May by assisting her with Brexit is the exact opposite of getting her and the Tories out of office. Start thinking a bit more!

      1. Jack: Did you forget that a vote was taken and and you lost it, of course you say but we were lied to, Tories tell lies about everything but you never hear people calling for another election.

        Your whole premise is one of you know best, but what do you know: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PFnrWbo6uJA

      2. rotzeichen. Did you forget that the election gave the Tories a majority? You lost. You really should stop opposing them.

      1. If what you say is true, where are they all, all we hear about is another vote in a another referendum, if they were genuine, which they are not, they would get behind the leadership. Propaganda works and if all you hear about is what the mass media tell you, how can you judge otherwise.

        Isn’t it funny how all these MPs with a conscience couldn’t find it under Blair or Ed Miliband when they were attacking the living standards of the most vulnerable in our society.

        The EU is a disaster and here is the evidence for that, unless you are wilfully blind and choose to ignore the facts:

      2. rotzeichen 16/01/2019 at 1:04 pm · ·

        If what you say is true

        Bearing in mind all the polls and academic surveys have consistently given similar results

        Do you have any credible evidence to the contrary?

      3. · ·

        “If what you say is true

        Bearing in mind all the polls and academic surveys have consistently given similar results

        Do you have any credible evidence to the contrary?”

        If you were happy to be sold down the river by a group of right wing Neo-Liberal MPs in the Labour Party, then of course you will happily peddle their propaganda. They got the real election badly wrong though didn’t they, so who says your polls are accurate.

      4. so who says your polls are accurate.

        Is there any credible evidence to the contrary?

  4. I wonder what percentage of the 71 Labour MPs supporting the PV also connived in the coup against Jeremy. Perhaps Skwarkie could work it out for us.

    1. Given your interest I’m surprised that you haven’t just Googled the 2 lists of MPs and worked it out for yourself. However I do find it difficult to see what would be achieved by fostering animosity within the party over this, particularly when the majority of party members and voters support a referendum and staying in the EU.

      1. That’s rich coming from you who’s been busy fostering the mother of all animosity by pushing for the impossible with a “PV”.

      2. lundiel 16/01/2019 at 1:10 pm · ·

        That’s rich coming from you who’s been busy fostering the mother of all animosity by pushing for the impossible with a “PV”.

        I support a second referendum if we fail to secure a GE, just like the vast majority of members do, it’s Labour Party policy. To the best of my knowledge I have never supported a second referendum in preference to a GE, you are of course welcome to try and prove otherwise.

        Bearing in mind the Labour Party’s current policy which only lists the option of a second referendum if we fail to secure a GE I’m curious what policy do you support should we fail to get a GE. If the Tories win the no confidence vote then what comes next?

    1. It’s not simple.

      But it’s a start.

      One thing’s pretty sure – a general election isn’t going to happen, so there needs to be a coherent policy alternative. Pursuing Brexit and wittering about ‘honouring’ a mickey-mouse referendum isn’t an alternative. It’s Tory policy, to be blunt.

  5. I don’t accept that “the majority of Labour members and voters want a PV”. It would be beyond belief that anyone other than saboteurs would actually want the sort of long term disruption a PV would cause to the country as a whole, let alone the Labour party. Those on this blog advocating it are fifth columnists.

    1. As I have said before, you are of course entitled to ignore all the evidence and prothletise your conspiracy theories as your alternative truth but no matter how hard you may wish it otherwise it won’t alter the facts one iota. But hey if it gives you comfort and solace then by all means you go ahead and ignore all the available evidence, just don’t expect others to follow you down your rabbit hole.

    1. Certainly, it’s not risk free. But carrying on advancing minor amendments to Tory policy isn’t a great look, either.

  6. A 2nd Referundum has always been a non-starter because there hasn’t been and isn’t a majority in Parliament to support it. It is also a very bad idea because of the delay but mainly because there is no reason to expect a result that is significantly different, it’s likely to be much the same or a bigger !eave vote. The assumption that Remain wins 70% of the vote is for the birds. If it was a 50-something v 40-something for Remain who could argue against the fairness of a 3rd vote? The PV’ers live in a fantasy land that is a deliberate distraction from the real issue, Who Governs?

    1. Paul 16/01/2019 at 3:24 pm ·

      If you are ruling out campaigning for a second referendum (as unanimously agreed at conference) should we fail to secure a GE then what do you suggest we do next, fuck all?

      1. Reality says there will be fuckall happening until 2022 or the Government collapses of its own accord. There is no majority for a 2nd Referundum, it isn’t going to happen thank goodness. If it did Leave would win by a bigger margin. It’s hard to imagine where some people are living – but it ain’t the real world!

      2. There is no majority for a 2nd Referendum,

        There is amongst Labour party members and voters, I understand why you are justifiably worried that the electorate has changed its mind but running away from democracy is not a solution.

      3. It’s not enough votes; simple a# that. You like Government by Referendum?!

      4. Paul 16/01/2019 at 4:14 pm · ·

        [Do] You like Government by Referendum?!

        No, but unfortunately we are where we are. I don’t see there is much alternative to a second referendum given where we are. It is doubtful that a large number of leave voters would consider it acceptable for the government to simply ignore them and withdrew A50. Cameron has a lot to answer for.

      5. Yet you want to repeat Cameron’s foolish offer? Strange logic! Pits and digging spring to mind!

      6. SteveH

        “running away from democracy is not a solution”

        In other words PV is not the solution, dolt!

  7. Government by Referendum is Populist in the original Peron sense, a device to secure approval for dictators of all sorts. Mussolini was a dab hand at asking the right question at the right time and get the result he wanted. Only the ineptitude of the Tory Party managed to ask the wrong question at the wrong time – and lose! Referundum’s are the very opposite of Parliamentary Government; the two systems are incompatible because of the possibility – now seen – that the People’s Vote differs from that in Parliament. Is Parliament Supreme or are we to be governed by Referendum? What happens when some nasty bit of work on the Tory Right wants to put questions about Capital Punishment or Abortion to the vote? Referendum should be banned.

    1. Your reservations about referendums are spot on. *If* you’re going to have one, it needs to be on an issue that has a clear rationale; and if you’re going to make it a one-off, it has to be framed so that people actually can understand the issue and the implications, and any change in the status quo has to be on the basis of a specified clear majority.

      Of course, this one fulfilled absolutely *none* of the requirements. Thus we are in this unholy shit of a nation divided on an issue that was never high on the agenda – except for the Tory Party.

      The idea of ‘respecting the referendum result ‘ is, of course, pure bollocks (refuge of the fearful ‘followers’) : if you did, you’d note that it was a split vote, with a mere 37% of a largely uninformed populace voting for a change in the status quo.

      That is the reality, and any screaming protests about dissing a wise popular decision can be easily dismissed by just listening to a cross-section of vox-pops. The large proportion of ‘don’t knows’ were probably the most honest : so need to be factored in.

      That said, the fearful elected representatives that we have will probably not be minded to tell the truth about the referendum and reclaim proper decision making powers.Leadership is, unfortunately, a scarce commodity. So – perhaps – another, properly organised and framed referendum on may be the only way to do the necessary.

      The alternative is for Labour to never mind the bollocks and start building an anti-Brexit position (starting with a demand for an immediate suspension/withdrawal of article 50) in opposition to the Tories and in line with its membership. There is no more mileage to be gained from simply allowing the Tories to foul up.

  8. Those wanting a PV or 2nd referendum are assuming that the alternatives on the ballot paper will be the same as last time. If May’s government are setting the question I’d be very surprised if Remain was one of the options, it could be her deal or no deal!

    1. You could be right, but I doubt it. Given that the majority of MPs would rather remain in the EU and that the majority of MPs are vehemently opposed to leaving with no deal then I doubt she would get it through the HofC. I think in reality you have little to worry about.

    2. It’s noticeable that those in favour of a 2nd Referundum don’t like to discuss what the questions will be. It will probably end up the same as 2016 – with the same or a very similar result one suspects! The pit gets deeper. We should abandon Government by Referendum, it’s incompatible with Parliamentary Supremacy which has been the rule since the 1640’s.

      1. Paul 16/01/2019 at 5:12 pm

        It’s noticeable that those in favour of a 2nd Referendum don’t like to discuss what the questions will be.

        On the contrary I have posted my view on the format of a second referendum on numerous occasions.

        Any 2nd referendum whether that be under a Tory or a Labour government should be carried out using STV and contain 3 options

        1. Remain in the EU
        2. The Deal that the government has negotiated
        (Labour Or Tory)
        3. Leave the EU and join the WTO

        I advocate the use of STV because it is inherently inclusive by design, it is easy to understand and it and it tends to produce a more decisive result. I have no particular views on the order of the options or the precise wording apart from (unlike 2016) it must be clear what people are voting for.

  9. Perhaps leave or remain was never the real question but how can we build a left wing
    Democratic socialist society in the UK as an example to the World?
    And leave won so in my opinion it must be via this option.
    My academic, middle class liberal dominated CLP passed a resolution in support of the free movement of people in the EC (but note not the World) so we have Fortress Europe a Neo-Liberal capitalist club keeping people from less developed countries out whilst restricting their goods with tariffs.
    But I do not support open borders but good old fashioned socialist planning (as Pre Neo-Liberalism) of democratic control of labour and capital supply.
    The Right, centrists and middle class Liberals in Labour would only allow migrants from Europe which some argue is rasist but with leave and control of labour supply (with people needing job offers) we could take workers we need from anywhere in the World and it is this that is internationalist.
    As someone said recently just over 400 constituencies voted leave and 250 voted remain thus Another Peoples Vote backed by Labour would perhaps snatch defeat from the jaws of victory!
    I always argued Neo-Liberalism’s greatest victory was to stop the Left (but not all of us) from dreaming and perhaps after Neo-Liberalism captured the EC in that context it’s greatest victory has been in capturing the Left (but not all of us) in a straight jacket simply unable to imagine an internationalism (from independent nation states) outside of an EC structure.
    Time for socialist planning and dreaming again!

      1. Paul 16/01/2019 at 9:20 pm

        I would have thought it was obvious, my reference to ‘we’ is in the context of me being a member of the Labour Party and also being a Labour voter for over 45 years. I am also a member of Unite.

        I’m puzzled 😕 why you should ask, have you recently been appointed to the role of doorkeeper to dictate who qualifies to regard themselves as being a member of the Labour family. Have I passed your test?

  10. “Democratic socialist society in the UK as an example to the World?
    And leave won so in my opinion it must be via this option.”

    Well, I’ve seen some non-sequiturs here, but this takes the biscuit.

    “Leave” was an extreme right-wing initiative, largely determined by right wing propaganda from the MSM, and progressed by a Tory government. How the hell that translates into a ‘Democratic Socialist society” as an example to the world, I’m not quite sure.

    You don’t even like your own CLP, FFS. You reckon the New Jerusalem is just over the horizon with that lack of coherence and solidarity? You’re going to end up with a fringe Party at this rate.

  11. How are we going to build a democratic Socialist Europe when we can’t even build a democratic Socialist Labour Party in GB? Not in Scotland; Wales; NI not even in England. Many MPs don’t represent their constituents & if the Islington Sect adopt referendum 2 there will be civil war & any trust in our Party will be gone forever. Blair was wrong, the class war is not over. Referendum 2 is a LibDem proposal & the Labour Party will follow them into oblivion.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: