Brexit can and should be stopped if it fails to bring voters the benefits promised to them by leave campaigners, Nick Clegg has argued before the latest round of talks in Brussels.
The former Liberal Democrat leader said MPs were “duty bound” to reject a poor deal, telling BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he believed the UK could instead stay within some limited form of EU membership.
The latest round of Brexit talks begins on Monday, amid expectations that European leaders are unlikely to decide later this month that sufficient progress has been made to move discussions towards a future trading relationship.
Theresa May is expected to use a statement to the House of Commons later on Monday following her Brexit speech in Florence to tell other EU members “the ball is in their court” and she cannot be expected to make fresh concessions, according to reports.
But Clegg, who has written a book on how Brexit could be stopped, told Today that voters who opposed a poor Brexit deal should lobby their MPs to make clear their views.
“In almost exactly a year’s time, there will be an absolute crunch vote on Brexit when David Davis and Theresa May present whatever threadbare deal they’ve managed to cobble together to MPs,” he said.
“At that point, MPs need to decide a simple thing: does what they have before them, presented to them by David Davis and Theresa May, measure up in any respect to the numerous, utopian promises made to their constituents by Brexiteers?
“If they don’t, MPs are duty bound, regardless of whether they are in favour of remain or Brexit, to reject that deal, because it won’t in any way conform to the expectations raised by the Brexiteers in the first place.”
Clegg said this did not mean “overthrowing” the referendum decision. “The electorate ticked a box in favour of Brexit. Brexit isn’t just a word,” he said.