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30 Jan 2019

BY Tom Parry

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ITT members back second Brexit vote

The ITT has called “unanimously” for a second public Brexit vote, after members overwhelmingly favoured the option in a widespread poll of its membership.

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Freudmann: “We had a phenomenal response and as a result that sends a clear message: ITT members want a second referendum.”

More than 70% of the 400 members who responded to the survey backed a public vote on the UK’s membership of the EU including the three options: leaving the EU on March 29 with no deal; accepting prime minister Theresa May’s current withdrawal agreement; or for the UK to remain in the EU.


ITT chairman Steven Freudmann told TTG the result gave the organisation “a clear mandate” to throw its formal backing behind campaigns for a second referendum.


Following the poll result, Freudmann has scheduled a meeting later this week with Labour peer and prominent anti-Brexit voice Lord Andrew Adonis to “discuss tactics” and pledge the organisation’s support.


“We had a phenomenal response and as a result that sends a clear message: ITT members want a second referendum,” he said. “That’s clearly something we as an organisation must be pushing for.”


The poll – which ran from Friday, January 25, to Monday, January 28 – gave members a choice of five options.


They were: leave the EU with no deal, which received 12% of the vote; accept May’s deal (5%); negotiate a softer Brexit, commonly referred to as the “Norway option” (6%); negotiate a free trade deal, commonly referred to as the “Canada option” (6%); and the three-pronged public vote (no deal, May’s deal or remain), which claimed 71% of the vote.


Freudmann said the poll had been run to gauge ITT members’ current views on Brexit strategy after a previous vote at the ITT Conference in Tel Aviv in early June 2016 – just weeks before the referendum.


At the time, 76% of delegates said they were in favour of remaining in the EU, 21% backed leave and 3% were undecided.


Freudmann admitted he was “surprised” 12% of ITT members said they wished to leave the EU next month with no deal due to the “endless issues” he believed such an outcome would cause surrounding aviation, overseas workers and the potential drop in the value of sterling.


The results were revealed ahead of a vote by MPs on May’s Brexit “Plan B” on Tuesday evening (January 29 – after TTG went to press), after her initial withdrawal deal was rejected by a record majority earlier this month.

The five options in the ITT poll

12% Leave the EU on 29 March with no deal

5% Accept May's deal (which was defeated by a majority of 230 in parliament)

6% Negotiate a softer Brexit, sometimes called the “Norway” option

6% Negotiate a free trade deal, sometimes called the “Canada” option

71% Hold a public vote with three options (no deal, May’s deal or remain)

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