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Former Rolls Royce Chairman and Conservative Party Donor Calls for Second Brexit Referendum

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A Conservative party donor has called for a second Brexit referendum and expressed concern that the country is heading towards a deal over which British people would not have a final say.

Former Rolls-Royce chairman Sir Simon RobertsonSimon Robertson said he was “deeply depressed” at the tone of the debate about leaving the European Union.

The businessman joins high-profile figures from across the political spectrum in calling for a second referendum including former Labour prime minister Tony Blair, Liberal Democrat leader Sir Vince Cable and Conservative MP Dominic Grieve, who have all backed The Independent‘s Final Say campaign.

More than 700,000 people have signed the petition as the March 2019 deadline for the UK’s withdrawal from the bloc draws ever closer.

“I think it is complete balderdash to say the people have spoken, therefore you can’t go back,” Sir Simon told the Observer.  “The people can speak again — why can’t we have another vote on it? We had a brilliant deal with Europe. We had an opt-out on ever-closer union.

“We are now going to end up with one where, at the end of things, we won’t have a final say.”

His comments came as the Jeremy Corbyn-supporting grassroots campaign group Momentum said it would consult its members on what stance to take on EU withdrawal.

The group said it was taking no position on any Brexit motions at the upcoming Labour conference where the party’s leader is expected to come under pressure to back a “people’s vote” on withdrawal terms.

Momentum’s national coordinator Laura Parker said: “As the Tories continue to bungle Brexit and risk Britain crashing out with no deal, we will, like other organisations from the Labour movement, be asking our members what they think about the issue – and supporting the Labour leadership to defeat this disastrous Tory Brexit in Parliament if it fails Labour’s six tests.”

Labour tests for a Brexit deal include calls for any withdrawal agreement to deliver the same benefits as the single market and customs union, and a fair migration system.

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