Brexit: Nigel Farage's fresh EU referendum idea 'mischievous'

By James Williams
BBC Wales Brexit correspondent

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media captionNeil Hamilton: "We voted to leave - no ifs or buts"

UKIP in Wales has rejected the idea of a second EU referendum after the party's former leader Nigel Farage said he was close to backing another vote.

Mr Farage told Channel 5 it would end the "whinging and whining" of anti-Brexit campaigners.

UKIP Wales leader Neil Hamilton said the party's former leader was "just being mischievous, actually."

But he agreed with Mr Farage that a second referendum "would achieve an even stronger vote to leave".

The Leave campaign won the EU referendum in June 2016 with 51.9% of votes - in Wales, 52.5% of voters backed Brexit.

During a debate about Brexit on The Wright Stuff programme, Mr Farage referred to some leading pro-Remain politicians, saying: "What is for certain is that the Cleggs, the Blairs, the Adonises will never ever ever give up.

"They will go on whinging and whining and moaning all the way through this process.

"So maybe, just maybe, I'm reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership... and we may just finish the whole thing off.

"And Blair can disappear off into total obscurity."

image copyrightAFP
image captionNigel Farage stood down as UKIP leader after the vote for Brexit saying his political ambition had been achieved

Responding to the comments, Mr Hamilton said it was not UKIP policy to back another vote, but added: "I think this is Nigel just being mischievous actually.

"I mean, he's got a point I think that the moaners and whingers amongst the Remain camp will never ever give up, [implying] you've always got to keep on voting until you get the result that they want, not the result that we want.

Mr Hamilton joked that referendums on EU membership could become "an annual event", but stressed: "We voted in 2016 to leave the EU, no ifs or buts, it was a yes or no vote and the people voted to leave.

"Now we're executing the process and within a very few months we'll be out.

"My view is that the people have voted and that vote should be respected. The attempts to undermine the process of leaving in order to execute the will of the people are actually undemocratic.

"You've got to make a decision somewhere and I don't see why it should go on beyond the last referendum."

UKIP leader Henry Bolton said his party's policy on the issue was "unchanged", saying it opposed a second referendum as being "damaging to the nation".

UKIP AM, Gareth Bennett, said Mr Farage should be expelled from the party for making the comment. He said it was "a complete surrender to the Remain campaign".

Swansea West Labour MP Geraint Davies - who has tabled a bill calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal - said his call had been "echoed" by both Mr Farage and former prime minister Tony Blair.

"It's time the two main political parties caught up and accepted the inevitable, gave in to democracy and give the people the last word on whether the deal on the table matches up to the promises made," he said.

The UK government is currently in the process of negotiating the terms of leaving the European Union, with the date for departure set as 29 March 2019.

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