More than 1,400 of the UK's top lawyers have written to Theresa May's government to urge it to hold a second Brexit referendum.

By Daniel Herborn


Posted on November 5, 2018

The letter argues that “democratic government is not frozen in time” and that the 2016 referendum on Brexit was flawed as “Voters faced a choice between a known reality and an unknown alternative”.

Former Court of Appeal Judge Konrad Schiemann, Labour peer Baroness Kennedy QC and David Edward, a former Judge at the European Court of Justice, are among those to have put their names to their letter.

More than 70 business leaders expressed their support for a new Brexit referendum

The lawyers’ message comes just a day after another letter written by a group called ‘Business for a People’s Vote’ called on the government to let the public have the “ultimate choice” on Brexit.

Dozens of prominent business leaders wrote to The Sunday Times to urge Theresa May’s government to hold a second Brexit referendum to avoid a “destructive” economic impact.

The Business for a People’s Vote group includes Justin King, formerly CEO of supermarket chain Sainsbury’s, John Neill, CEO of Unipart and Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of Lastminute.com and a Director of Chanel and Twitter.

Its letter warns that the UK faces “either a blindfold or a destructive hard Brexit” which will discourage investment.

“They will be bad for business and bad for working people,” the letter continues. “Given that neither was on the ballot in 2016, we believe the ultimate choice should be handed back to the public with a People’s Vote.”

The letter argues the business community was promised a continuation of “frictionless trade with the EU” if a ‘leave’ vote prevailed.

This has not happened, the letter says and the ensuing uncertainty has had a chilling effect on investment.

Governement spokesperson says there will be no second Brexit referendum

Innovate Finance, which represents fintech businesses in the UK, previously stated that investment in the fintech sector was down one third in the UK since the June 2016 decision to leave the EU.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan supported the letter, writing on Twitter: “London’s businesses are the engine of our economy. We face the real risk of a bad Brexit deal, or no deal. Either would cause huge damage.”

A government spokesperson, however, said that the Brexit ministry was still confident it could reach a deal that will minimise business uncertainty and rejected calls for another referendum.

“The people of the United Kingdom have already had their say in one of the biggest democratic exercises this country has ever seen and the prime minister has made it clear that there is not going to be a second referendum,” he said.