Did Dan Hannan just back a people’s vote?

by Luke Lythgoe | 15.05.2018

Has Dan Hannan got behind a people’s vote? Well, sort of. The arch-Brexiter told the BBC that if Theresa May’s Brexit deal ends up with the UK in a customs union with the EU but outside the bloc, then we’d be “worse off than we are now” and Brexit would need “a new mandate, either in the form of a general election or another referendum”.

It’s quite possible that this is where we’ll end up, given that the government is incapable of solving the customs issue. Yesterday the prime minister told bankbenchers that both options being discussed in the Cabinet were currently unworkable.


Of course Parliament could yet hand May a get-out-of-jail card. If MPs vote to keep a Lords amendment demanding the UK stay in a customs union with the EU, then the prime minister can forget the current mess and insist her hands are tied by Parliament – although it doesn’t totally solve the Irish border issue, and would upset free-trading Brexiters like Liam Fox. One wonders why the prime minister doesn’t bring the EU Withdrawal Bill back to the House of Commons immediately.

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Which brings us back to Hannan’s grievances. Although as an MEP he won’t take part in the a “meaningful vote” on May’s Brexit deal in the UK Parliament, Hannan reflects increasing despondency in the Brexit camp. This souring of the Brexit dream was writ large in a scathing Telegraph editorial yesterday. It talked of “divides which currently seem unbridgeable” and concluded: “The question many Leavers are now asking themselves is whether the Brexit on offer will be worth it.”

What’s more, Hannan has a point. At present, we are one of the EU’s most powerful members, making the rules. If we quit the EU but stay in the customs union, we would become a rule-taker. We would clearly be worse off than we are now. All the more reason, as the MEP has said, to have a people’s vote on the final deal.

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InFacts is a founding member of the People’s Vote Campaign.

This article was amended on May 19 to clarify that Dan Hannan will get a vote on the Brexit deal in the European Parliament as an MEP, though not in the “meaningful vote” in the UK Parliament. 

Edited by Hugo Dixon

3 Responses to “Did Dan Hannan just back a people’s vote?”

  • I seem to recall that prior to the Referendum, Hannan supported Brexit because it would allow Britain to stay in the Single Market and follow a similar course to countries like Norway.


    However, he now seems to be saying the UK should leave the Single Market.
    As this is a clear case of having misled the voters, he perhaps has a guilty conscience about it, and hence recognises that the people should have a final say on what type of relationship we should have with the EU.

  • The Brexit offer was ever shifting from Norway and dithering over EEA and EFTA, then Switzerland EFTA with sectoral agreements, then Turkey ( Customs Union), then somewhere in South America, then Canada, Canada plus plus, then red white and blue and so it went on.

    There were several prominent campaigns and there was no manifesto or even an attempt to offer one. Also, the campaigners were not in charge of delivering anything. As soon as the vote was in, the disreputable lot wiped all the websites to hide the evidence

    Was it meant to confuse people or was that incidental chaos. or part of some Cambridge Analytica psychology?

    Now Cambridge Analytica have been raided by the police for using millions of people’s details without agreement and were known to have deleted names out of thousands of emails which were earmarked as police evidence.

    Three leave campaigns have been overspending significantly, with two of them colluding, all illegally.

    Three million EU citizens were left off the ballot and would have carried this easily for Remain, as would the 16-17 year olds who were allowed the precedent of a say in their futures in Scotland.

    It was the popular press who more than anything created this situation by publishing 35 years of lies about the EU, all documented, as if it existed only to do Britain down.

    The real anti EU agenda is to maintain professional tax avoidance systems, to create financial chaos to enable fortunes to be made through short selling and by the worst sort of employers wanting UK workers to be in direct competition with India ( Britannia Unchained), with rights and protections removed.

  • Farage previously stated he was warming to the idea of a fresh referendum. but the idea they are backing a People’s vote only points up the folly of the People’s Vote. This is not on Brexit, and it is a delusion to think it is. The People’s Vote accepts brexit and does not challenge leaving. There is a need for a campaign to reverse the 2016 vote, and this is not being offered by any current group. As the disaster gets closer, we need to abandon the illusion that voting on the deal is the issue and all is needed is better terms – when is Millbank going to campaign against Brexit itself?

    Trevor Fisher