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Tory grandee calls for fresh Brexit referendum to restore national unity

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Michael Heseltine was a Tory MP between 1966 and 2001 and served as deputy Prime Minister under John Major in the mid to late 1990s

The Tory former deputy prime minister, Lord Michael Heseltine, has called on pro-Europeans within and without the ruling Conservative Party to follow the example of the Scottish nationalists by demanding another referendum on European Union (EU) membership.

Despite the formal end of the Brexit transition period on December 31, the veteran Europhile cited the position of the Scottish National Party (SNP) in pushing for another referendum on Scottish independence as the way forward for Remainers.

The former deputy Prime Minister told Times Radio  (January 01): “You have got a country which is deeply divided and it is very important to give hope and keep alive the aspirations of the younger generation”.

Heseltine encouraged pro-Europeans to not “lie down” and "fight back" for renewed EU membership through another referendum.

Deriding the UK’s last-minute post-Brexit trade deal, Heseltine branded Boris Johnson’s triumphant comments on the occasion as “ludicrous”.

He said: “We have got a deal which is an ongoing battleground for dissension, and disruption”.

In a controversial comparison to the SNP position on a second Scottish referendum, the Tory grandee said that as the Scottish nationalists did not accept the 2014 referendum results, the pro-Europeans should also follow suit by demanding a second Brexit referendum.

According to Heseltine, the Scottish nationalists did not accept any failure following the 2014 referendum and instead said "we nearly won – we must have another go".

In a barely concealed snipe at the SNP leadership, Heseltine claimed the post-Brexit trade deal would work as a “recruiting sergeant” for Scottish nationalism, as the Scottish nationalists push for another referendum on independence.

Meanwhile, the First Minister of Scotland and SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, wrote in PoliticoEurope (January 01) that Scotland would rejoin the EU soon, once the country has achieved separation from the UK.

Heseltine's reference to his political enemies in the SNP in order to score points against the leadership of the Tory Party is likely to be considered as a sign of desperation on the part of Europhiles and Remainers now that Brexit has become an irreversible reality

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