Nigel Farage’s surprise call for Britain to prepare for a second EU referendum has ignited hopes among anti-Brexit campaigners that both sides of the debate will back a poll on Theresa May’s final deal.
The former Ukip leader shocked his colleagues on Thursday by suggesting another Brexit vote, arguing it would lead to a more decisive victory for the leave campaign and silence remain supporters for a generation.
His intervention was immediately seized on by those who believe another referendum is the best way of overturning the result, including former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Labour peer Andrew Adonis, as it was seen as a sign that political pressure is building for a poll on the final deal.
Although the prime minister has insisted she will not allow another referendum, bookmakers Coral and Betfair slashed the odds on another poll before the end of 2019 to 5-1.
Some suggested it could make it easier for Labour to shift its position to supporting another referendum on May’s final Brexit deal, joining the Lib Dems, who have already called for a second poll.
But it could also fuel divisions within Labour. The party leadership currently maintains that there is no need for another popular vote – in contrast to some of its pro-EU backbenchers.