Green Party promises a second EU referendum with the option of remaining in the EU

Green Party promises a second EU referendum with the option of remaining in the EU

The Green Party have just launched their Brexit policy for the General Election, promising voters the option of staying in the EU via a second referendum.

Co-leader, Caroline Lucas, told an audience of supporters at a partly EU-funded (i.e. British taxpayer-funded) art studio in London: “The Green Party has consistently said that the referendum should be the start, not the end, of the democratic process.”

Setting out her position in The Independent this morning, Lucas said the Party accepted the vote to leave the EU only as a mandate to begin Brexit negotiations, adding: “It is right people should have a say on the final deal in a ratification referendum – with the option to remain in the EU if they choose.” She called it a “truly democratic” option.

At the policy launch, she said of the plan: “There are some who say that this is a re-run of the referendum, but that simply isn’t the case. Instead this is giving people an informed say over our shared future. If the Government is so convinced that they’ll get a decent deal then there’s no reason that they wouldn’t trust people to have a final say.”

Yet the Lib Dems have already set out their General Election stall as the most fervent pro-EU party and the Greens will find it hard to take ground by appealing to voters that still want to Remain. In her op-ed, Lucas attacked the Conservatives and Labour but only had one thing to say about the Lib Dems: “The Lib Dems are talking about Europe, but not much else.” This is the main problem for the Green Party. Tim Farron, the Lib Dem leader, has consistently and loudly proclaimed his pro-Remain credentials and at least some of the Lib Dem by-election victory in Richmond Park was down to their candidate Sarah Olney’s call for a second referendum in a constituency that had voted heavily Remain.

However, after the Lib Dem leader described himself as “a bit of a Eurosceptic” to Andrew Marr on Sunday, one can’t help wondering if the Lib Dems could be subtly trying to shift their message, even if only for short-term electoral appeal. If that were the case, that would make the Greens the most attractive electoral option for purist continuity Remain voters.