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Second referendum only way to break Brexit gridlock in parliament, MPs hear

File photo dated 22/10/18 of a European Union flag in front of the Elizabeth Tower. Theresa May's flagship Brexit legislation is "constitutionally unacceptable" and will need to be substantially rewritten, an influential group of peers has said. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Monday January 29, 2018. Peers have raised concerns about the European Union (Withdrawal) Bill ahead of a debate on Tuesday. The peers said the Bill was "fundamentally flawed" in multiple ways and risked "undermining legal certainty". See PA story POLITICS Brexit Lords. Photo credit should read: Victoria Jones/PA Wire

Parliament will be "gridlocked" no matter what the Brexit deal, former Cabinet minister Justine Greening warned as she urged the Government to "ask the people" to break the impasse.

The Tory former education secretary told MPs a referendum could be held in the next 22 weeks as she derided Theresa May's current plan.

Ms Greening said the deal negotiated by the Prime Minister was the equivalent of asking someone to "jump out of a plane without knowing if your parachute is there and attached".

She said: "If this was anything else comparable, for example a big infrastructure project, we'd have a national policy statement that might be a thousand pages of detail for the House to consider.

"Here we've got just 26 pages, a proposed deal on leaving the European union is perhaps the ultimate national policy statement, yet we've virtually nothing, it's the political equivalent of being asked to jump out of a plane without knowing if your parachute is there and attached, it's like agreeing to move out of your house without knowing where your going to live next or not even having agreed the sales price but selling out and signing a contract anyway.

"None of us would do this in our own lives, yet this Withdrawal Agreement and Political Declaration asks us to do it on behalf of our country."

She added: "This Brexit deal is not the Brexit that Leave campaigners campaigned for, and it is not the Brexit that Leave voters voted for, it is not delivering on the result of the 2016 referendum.

"Leavers in my own community reject it. Remainers reject it, they're left thinking what's the point if Leavers are not happy with the outcome of the referendum were they won. What is the point of leaving to simply have all the same EU rules anyway."

Ms Greening ended by telling the Commons that we "can do a referendum in 22 weeks", she said: "A referendum is one of the ways that we could enable millions of Leave voters who don't think that this Government is delivering on the verdict of that referendum a chance to have their say properly in a way that they don't think is happening in this Parliament and we now have some clear cut practical choices and we should put those on the table."

Tory MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, who chairs the Commons health committee, echoed calls for a second referendum.

The Totnes MP said: "It seems to me that even the dogs in the street know that the Prime Minister's deal is not going to pass this House next week, that's the truth of it.

"What we should do now is be thinking about plan B and be honest about that, to my mind plan B must not involve no-deal, no responsible Government could inflict no-deal in 114 days on the United Kingdom, we are absolutely not prepared for that.

"The alternative is to look at going back to the British people."

Tory MP Nigel Evans (Ribble Valley) spoke out against a second referendum, saying: "In 2016 we had a people's vote.

"For anybody to even suggest that another referendum would be the people's vote because the last one wasn't is totally and wholly fraudulent.

"It's ridiculous."

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