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Corbyn should back second Brexit referendum

Boris Johnson is a figure who has consistently displayed both an enormous ego and a blatantly opportunistic approach to politics so he probably feels he is well qualified to become a Conservative prime minister.

His naked ambition has never been in doubt but what is genuinely perplexing is the level of support he has retained in his party despite all his back-stabbing and u-turns.

The most recent polling among grassroots Tories places Mr Johnson as the firm favourite to succeed the hapless Theresa May, and other high profile MPs seem happy to endorse him.

This is despite his relentless efforts to seek attention through childishly offensive comments on key matters, such as his claim in a newspaper article yesterday that Mrs May's Brexit plan had `wrapped a suicide vest' around the British constitution.

It will be remembered that Mr Johnson signed up to the same blueprint at the Chequers summit in July, only to go into reverse gear 48 hours later and abruptly resign as UK foreign secretary.

He also famously kept his options open over the 2016 Brexit referendum in the first place, privately circulating conflicting opinion columns on his intentions before deciding to join the Leave camp on the basis that it provided his best chance of reaching Downing Street.

Mr Johnson's latest Brexit intervention, in the Mail on Sunday, referred to the commitment by the UK and EU to come up with a solution avoiding a hard Irish border as the `insanity of the so-called backstop'.

However, he has notably failed to come up with a credible alternative strategy which might avoid post-Brexit chaos here and instead displayed complete indifference to the crisis facing Irish people from all traditions.

With the bookmakers suggesting that the next British general election could boil down to a straight choice between Mr Johnson and Jeremy Corbyn, there will be a sense that the Labour leader is in an increasingly strong position.

At the same time, there will be deep concern that Mr Corbyn appears resigned to the UK departing from the EU and is managing to ignore the overwhelming case for a second referendum on the final Brexit deal.

Chuka Umunna, the former shadow business secretary who plays a prominent role in the cross-party People's Vote campaign, made a powerful call at the weekend for a change of heart from Mr Corbyn but received little backing from senior colleagues.

The shocking untruths put forward by the Leave group two years ago, and the fact that it was subsequently found by the Electoral Commission to have illegally broken strict spending limits, provide more than enough justification for a second referendum which would also allow voters to offer their verdict on far-reaching proposals which were never debated in 2016.

It is alarming that Mr Corbyn has placed himself on the same side of the argument as Mr Johnson and the final say on the crucial issue should be given to the electorate.

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