Former UK Cabinet secretary seeks new Brexit referendum

A former U.K. Cabinet minister from the ruling Conservative Party on Monday called for a new Brexit referendum, an idea long assailed by the prime minister.

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Former Education Secretary Justine Greening told the BBC that Parliament is "gridlocked" over Britain's exit from the European Union. She said that she and other senior Tory lawmakers favor a new vote.

Greening said that she would campaign to keep Britain in the EU if a new referendum is held.

There is mounting pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May coming from both sides of the Brexit debate. Her recent "white paper" outlining plans for a "common rule book" with the EU over trade in goods has infuriated those who favor a complete break.

May defended her plan as she opened the Farnborough International Airshow. She said it would safeguard vital jobs in the aviation industry and keep Britain's tradition as a nation in the forefront of the aviation industry.

The issue is sensitive because Airbus signaled in June that it would have to consider its long-term plans for Britain if there is no Brexit deal.


May said the plan outlined in the white paper honors the wishes of British voters — who in June 2016 backed Brexit with 52 percent of the vote — while protecting industry and security.

Her office has said there will be no second referendum under any conditions. Her authority has been weakened with the resignations of major figures Boris Johnson and David Davis and a series of lesser officials who disagree with her Brexit plan.

Parliament will debate aspects of the Brexit proposal later Monday, when May will face efforts by hard-line Brexit backers to use a series of amendments to limit her government's ability to set up the customs arrangement she seeks — one that would keep close ties with the EU.

It will be seen as a fresh sign of weakness if she has to compromise again on these plans.

The skirmishes are expected to continue Tuesday when a trade bill is debated.

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