Tireless campaigner Lord Adonis added his support as the People’s Vote staged their first ever event in Rotherham on Saturday (13 April).
The former Labour Cabinet Minister joined dozens of People’s Vote supporters from across South Yorkshire as they talked to shoppers in the town centre.
Rotherham may have voted Leave in 2016 but Lord Adonis feels the mood is changing across the country.
“I don’t think Rotherham is difficult at all, what people want to do is discuss what Brexit will mean for them,” he said.
“They understand that we are a democracy, that a lot has changed in the last three years, that we can see the deal now, there wasn’t a deal three years ago and the right thing is for people to have their say on it - whether they voted leave or remain.”
As the hard reality of the impact of Brexit becomes clearer Lord Adonis felt the public were moving behind having the final say on any deal in a confirmatory referendum.
“Obviously we want to remain but nobody voted (in 2016) for what is going on at the moment, least of all this planning for no deal Brexit. Six weeks of medical supplies, buying all the world’s fridges, the M20 the largest car park in Europe,” he said.
“None of that is what the public voted for and I think there is a strong sense among the public, including here in Rotherham, that we need a second referendum so people that can decide if we really want to proceed with this, now they can see the deal, or whether they think the right thing is to stay in the EU.”
He added: ”There are quite a lot of people, like us who think a second referendum is right on principle and now people can see the deal they should have their say but I think there is a growing number of people who see a second vote as a lifeboat.”
The event in All Saints Square in the shadow of Rotherham Minster attracted People’s Vote supporters from across the region including members of Sheffield For Europe. The ‘Brexitometer' - a chart on which people can ‘vote’ on their preferred option for a way to end the political indecision over Europe – was kept busy.
Lord Adonis feels votes at the ballot box will also be important as the campaign for the European elections builds. Those votes could reinforce the changing views on Brexit and step up pressure for a confirmatory vote on any exit deal.
“Now that Parliament is paralysed there is not going to be a majority for Theresa May’s deal no matter how many times she puts it to Parliament,” he said. “She has already done it three times (times) and is already talking about a fourth. She won't even let Parliament meet at the moment because she knows they would reject her deal again so she has sent them on holiday for another two weeks.
“Now that people can see that we are paralysed but that we have got to take a decision and we can’t stay in this state of limbo there is growing support for a second vote simply as a way, as a lifeboat.
“Remember (Nigel) Farage himself said a second referendum might be a good idea. He is campaigning like mad now in the European elections because he knows they are going to happen.
“All those of us who want to remain need to treat the European elections as if they were a referendum. We need to see that people are registered (to vote) that they come out to vote for the parties that are for a referendum and against Brexit. I think that will help establish even stronger support for the referendum itself when Parliament next votes on it.”