Labour and Co-op Party MP Gareth Thomas has tabled a ten minute rule bill that would enable a “People’s Vote” on the terms of the UK’s exit from the EU.
Mr Thomas, who is co-chair of the Co-op Party, told the House of Commons that the terms of Brexit were not clear at the time of the referendum. “It was never explained that we would have less money for the NHS or that we would have to pay £40m to the EU for a worse relationship,” he said.
He told weblog LabourList that he sees the EU as “the biggest co-operative project in the world”, warning: “Leaving it will have bigger ramifications for the country than any bill or budget, so I think it is only right that the people decide how we leave.”
Ten minute rule bills are usually unsuccessful but they can be used to raise the profile of an issue and gauge MPs’ opinions.
Mr Thomas told LabourList: “I hope this bill will pass but of course I will be looking for other legislative opportunities, such as the EU Withdrawal Bill.”
He said he hoped the Labour Party would support his proposals, adding: “I didn’t table this bill to undermine the policies being put forward by the leadership. I am an instinctive loyalist and I am right behind the frontbench’s approach to Brexit … I would rather persuade than rebel.”
In his speech tabling the bill, Mr Thomas – who voted to trigger Article 50 – said he was not trying to stand in the way of Brexit, but that people should get the final say on a deal.