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Hold a second referendum on day of European elections (but pass the Withdrawal Agreement first)


Dear Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn, Dear Donald Tusk Michel Barnier, Jean Claude Juncker, Antonio Tajani and Guy Verhofstadt,

We are a group of concerned citizens who have been fighting for our and other's rights in the event of Britain leaving the European Union since 2013 – yes, since before the referendum.

We represent organisations or volunteer with organisations based both in the UK and in the EU 27 member states.

The position of EU27 citizens in the UK and Britons in Europe in the event of a leave vote should have been thought about before a referendum was even contemplated, and our rights secured before such a vote was allowed to take place.

Two and a half years on we are confronted with the cliff edge of a no deal Brexit. You may not see the cliff edge, but that is exactly the feeling that 5 million citizens in the UK and EU27 member states have had since 24 June 2016 and we continue to feel that way today.

Our rights are being taken away and yet we do not have a voice.

So before you tip us all over the edge of the cliff and into a sea of uncertainty as a result of a no deal Brexit, we have something to say.

Firstly, the Withdrawal Agreement should be voted through without delay. There is no prospect of this being changed and it is excruciating to watch these political games being played out while we continue to teeter in the wind on the precipice of a no deal.

If the Labour Party votes for the Withdrawal Agreement it will become law. We therefore appeal to Jeremy Corbyn to take this course of action but crucially only once he has secured the other measures set out below.

Secondly, a condition of voting through the Withdrawal Agreement, must be a commitment to a new referendum. Without this commitment, i.e. without legislation to secure the referendum, Labour should continue to withhold support for the Withdrawal Agreement.

Thirdly, the British Government should request a three month extension of Article 50 to 29 June 2019 in order to hold the referendum and the European Union should agree to such a request.

Fourthly,  the referendum should take place on the day of the European elections, Thursday 23 May. The Electoral Commission is already preparing for the elections on that day and to add the referendum on the same day and therefore adding the referendum to the ballot papers is feasible.  

There should be a straight choice between leaving the EU on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement and staying in the European Union.

If Britain votes to leave, it does so on the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement that will already have been passed through Parliament.

If Britain votes to stay, Article 50 is revoked, the Withdrawal Agreement falls and the MEPs elected on 23 May will take up their seats.

Due to the prolonged negotiations, the relationship between Britain and the rest of the EU has become transactional. But from the citizens’ perspective we make the obvious point that Britain is still a member of the European Union until it leaves. We should actually be seeking a unanimity of approach rather than 27 against 1.

True leadership and statesmanship is now required to resolve the crisis.

This demands  putting all the problems on the table and resolving them together - as a family, the European family, even at the moment when one family member wants to leave.

If we all take a deep breath and put the citizens at the centre of our reflections, what do we see?

We see the impossibility of a no deal Brexit.

We see that withholding consent to the Withdrawal Agreement manufactures uncertainty.

We see that the European elections must take place because we cannot abolish democracy if Britain does not leave the EU on 29 March.

We see the disruption to European institutions if Brexit is delayed beyond the end of June.

We see the common sense in giving the citizens a final say once the terms have been decided and passed into law.

We see the practicality of holding the referendum (and let us call it a referendum for that is what it is) on the same day as the European elections.

Our approach has the advantage that all parties are called on to do something they may not wish to do.

Labour will need to vote for the Withdrawal Agreement.

The Government will have to grant a second referendum.

The European Union will have to offer an extension of Article 50

Each of these concessions has mitigating circumstances.

The Withdrawal Agreement falls if Britain votes to stay in a second referendum

The Withdrawal Agreement is implemented if Britain votes to leave because it will have been passed into law before the referendum takes place.

The three month extension means that the process is completed before the new European Parliament convenes for its first session in Strasbourg on 2 July.

5million citizens remain teetering on the cliff edge and sometimes it can also feel like we are whistling in the wind.

We urge you to create certainty for the 5million citizens teetering on the cliff edge.

Cut the Gordian knot: pass the withdrawal agreement, hold a second referendum on the day of the European elections and give  us and others the opportunity to regain control of our lives, free of the anxiety and uncertainty created by the current impasse.

Yours sincerely,

 

To add your name to the letter, click here

Signatories

Valerie Adams , Wales (UK) 

Mike Atkinson, Isle of Wight (UK)

Robert Alexander, Faro, (PT)

Steve Allen, Watford (UK)

Zlato Anguelov, Southampton (UK)

Michael Arapis, Cardiff (UK)

Dimitris Ballas,  Groningen (NL)

James Beckles, London (UK)

Peter Bell, Cardiff (UK)

Jakub Benke, Warsaw (PL)

Vera Blagoeva, Milton Keynes (UK)

Pablo Bobarsc, Bucharest (RO)

Emanuela Bonardi, Oxford (UK)

Jake Boyle, Siggiewi (MT)

Sabine Budnick, Leipzig (DE)

Mark Butcher, Gex (FR)

Jack Byrne, Eastbourne (UK)

Cristina Calaraseanu, Timisoara (RO)

Roger Casale, Florence (IT)

Cornel Carausu, London (UK)

Anna Catalani, Manchester (UK)

Frederic Chevarin, Oxford (UK)

Christopher Clannachan Amsterdam - Randstad (NL)

Myra Cocker, Bovenkarspel (NL)

Peter Cook, Gillngham (UK)

Lisa Costello, Horsham (UK)

Irina Darpatova-Pelc, Dundee (UK)

Adam Dey , DUndee (UK)

Catalin Dimitrama, Timisoara (RO)

Robert Edwards, Torrox Costa, Malaga (ES)

Tamara Flanagan OBE, London (UK)

Chris Garratt MBE, Luxembourg (LU)

Maximos Giannis, Maastricht (NL)

Nishan Dzhingozyan, London  (UK)

Nick Gouvalas, Maastricht  (NL)

Caroline Hall, Noord Holland (NL)

Patricia Harvey, Southern France (FR)

Alexander Hanna, Southampton (UK)

Barbara Hawkins, Middlesborough (UK)

Crispin Hetherington, Lund (SE)

Jean-Baptiste Horhant , Strasbourg (FR)

Tonya Hountingwolf Billington,, Warminser (UK)

Vesella Howell, Oxford (UK)

John Jameson , Leeds (UK)

Svetlana Karova, Winchester (UK)

Lena Kronenbürger, Cologne (DE)

Kristiana Kuneva, Sofia (BG)

Stanislav Lencz, Bratislava, (SK)

Lisa Martin, Arundel (UK)

Brian Milne, Calès (FR)

Jane Morrice, Bangor (NI) 

Stephen Mortimer, Berlin (DE)

Owain Gardner, Glasgow (UK)

Oliver Moore, Groningen (NL)

NEW EUROPEANS GLASGOW

NEW EUROPEANS GRONINGEN

NEW EUROPEANS MAASTRICHT

NEW EUROPEANS RANDSTAD (AMSTERDAM)

NEW EUROPEANS ROME

NEW EUROPEANS STRASBOURG

NEW EUROPEANS WALES

Asia Newman, Bristol (UK)

Magnus Nordstrand, Stockholm, (SE)

Gary Paterson, Glasgow (UK)

Ivalina Petkova, Stockport (UK)

Aurélien Pommier, Bruges (BE)

Rosie Richards, Amsterdam (NL)

Bart Roelofs, Groningen (NL)

Matt Savage, Helsinki (FI)

Martin Sepp, Stupava (SK)

Rupert Slade, Budapest (HU)

Nikolay Slavov, London  (UK)

Mike SMith, Llubljana (SI) 

Nicolaus Paul Sparrow-James , Copenhagen (DK)

Heidi Spring-Jones, Cheshire (UK)

Ken Sweeney, Athy (IE)

Esther Tak, Dordrecht (NL)

Fiona Thompson, Maribor (SI)

Lennard van Otterloo,  London (UK)

Carolin Vater,  Zurich (CH)

Olivier Védrine,  Kiev (UA)

Edward Vickery, Limassol (CY)

Simon Ward, East Sussex (UK)

Monika Weigand Frankfurt am Main (DE)

Elizabeth Wenk, Leipzig (DE)

Chris Wherry Maribor, Slovenia (SI)

Marcin Wiacek, Warsaw (PL)

Anna Yeadell, Groningen (NL)

Yuliana Zaharieva, Bristol (UK)

Christoph Zens, London (UK)

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