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Second referendum on Brexit ‘cannot be ruled out’ - George Vella

'In politics, you can never rule out something definitively'

Brexit Secretary David Davis quit yesterday over Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to leave the EU. Photo: PA

Brexit Secretary David Davis quit yesterday over Prime Minister Theresa May’s plans to leave the EU. Photo: PA

A second Brexit referendum in the United Kingdom could “not be ruled out”, former foreign minister George Vella said.

Dr Vella was speaking to the Times of Malta after it was announced that Brexit Secretary David Davis had resigned. His decision caused mayhem for Prime Minister Theresa May, as foreign secretary Boris Johnson also quit his post later in the day over the plans to leave the European Union.

“In politics, you can never rule out something definitively,” Dr Vella said when asked about a second Brexit referendum.

“It seems that there has been a change of heart in the UK population on Brexit,” he added.

European Council President Donald Tusk on social media raised the idea that Brexit might be called off after Mr Johnson, a campaigner for Britain to leave the EU, quit the Cabinet.

Echoing a comment he had made to reporters after the resignation of Mr Davis, Mr Tusk tweeted: “Politicians come and go but the problems they have created for people remain. I can only regret that the idea of Brexit has not left with Mr Davis and Mr Johnson. But... who knows?”

However, former foreign minister Tonio Borg said that he had doubts about whether there would be a second referendum.

“It is important to note that referendums in the UK are quite uncommon,” Dr Borg said.

Dr Vella and Dr Borg both agreed there were several question marks being raised around Brexit and Ms May’s prospects as Prime Minister.

“We need to wait and see,” Dr Borg told the Times of Malta, adding pressure for Ms May to leave continued to mount with the questions over her leadership.

A crisis in the UK government was “quickly forming,” he noted.

Negotiations between the UK and the EU had “an uncertain future,” Dr Vella said.

There was still an unclear sense of what the UK wanted its relationship with the European Union to be after Brexit.

“It is certain that Theresa May will not be taken very seriously by the EU,” Dr Vella said.

“She wanted to stay in the EU, but she took on Brexit because she had to as prime minister.

“They have to negotiate with [the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator] Michel Barnier, a very assiduous and methodical man,” Dr Vella said, adding that Mr Barnier will “work hard to get his way”.

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