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Lib Dems double down on Brexit second referendum

Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson
Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Jo Swinson makes a keynote speech at the annual CBI conference in London on 18 November. Photo: Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson has doubled down on her position in favour of a second referendum on Brexit, despite concerns from business groups.

Swinson, whose Liberal Democrats plan to revoke Article 50 if they win a majority, and support a referendum on the deal, is a vocal opponent of leaving the European Union.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance UK at a campaign event near St Albans, Swinson said: “The only way to not have Brexit uncertainty going forward is to stop Brexit. Revoking Article 50 is the quickest way to do that, so the Liberal Democrats are offering that choice to the British people.”

Swinson also underlined her scepticism on arguments around “certainty”, put forward by those who oppose a new referendum. She said: “In terms of what Boris Johnson is proposing I don’t think that anyone should fall for the myth that Brexit will be done in any short period of time if we do leave the European Union with Boris Johnson’s deal.

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“[Johnson’s deal] is the beginning of years and years worth of negotiation where businesses will not have certainty as to what the trading relationship is going to look like ... what the regulation is going to look like ... whether that’s all going to be slashed away in pursuit of some American trade deal, or whether we’re going to have that close alignment which businesses actually say they want.”

Swinson also hinted that if a majority of MPs were in favour of a referendum on the deal, she would push for the vote to happen quickly despite the recent crises in the People’s Vote campaign. About the problems of the campaign group, Swinson reiterated the potential speed in which Brexit could be sorted if a referendum was held.

“If we were in a position to deliver a people’s vote, then the ability to be able to sort that in a very short period of months with a vote to remain is absolutely a prospect and I think it’s one that many in the business community would have as their ideal desired outcome.”

Swinson spoke to reporters during a visit to Imagination Techhnologies in Kings Langley outside of St Albans, where the Liberal Democrats are attempting to beat incumbent Conservative MP Anne Main, who is a prominent supporter of Brexit.

READ MORE: UK business leaders dismayed by choice between Johnson and Corbyn