July 16, 2018 / 6:51 AM / a month ago

Former UK minister calls for second vote on Brexit to end stalemate

LONDON, July 16 (Reuters) - A former senior British minister called on Monday for a second referendum to solve a parliamentary stalemate on Brexit, saying Prime Minister Theresa May's proposals for new ties with the European Union were a fudge that satisfied no one.

Justine Greening, an ex-Education Secretary who quit the government in January, said May's negotiating strategy would neither please those who wanted a clean break with the EU nor those who opposed Brexit altogether.

"We'll be dragging Remain voters out of the EU for a deal that means still complying with many EU rules, but now with no say on shaping them," Greening wrote in the Times newspaper.

"It's not what they want, and on top of that when they hear that Leave voters are unhappy, they ask, 'What's the point?'. For Leavers, this deal simply does not deliver the proper break from the European Union that they wanted."

May has ruled out a rerun of the 2016 vote in which Britons voted 52-48 percent to leave the bloc.

Her Brexit negotiating strategy, which aims for a close relationship with the EU after Britain leaves the bloc in March 2019, was only agreed with her cabinet earlier this month after two years of wrangling. Two senior ministers resigned in protest shortly afterwards.

May is now facing a possible rebellion from Brexit supporters in her Conservative Party who want her to ditch her plan when lawmakers vote on amendments to legislation on the government's post-Brexit customs regime on Monday.

However, she has told unhappy lawmakers that they needed to back her or risk there being no Brexit at all.

Greening said that with divisions in the Conservatives and the opposition Labour Party over how to proceed with Brexit, there should be another vote, with the public able to choose between May's plans, a "no-deal" break with the EU or remaining in the bloc.

"The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people," she said. (Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by Kate Holton)

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