Let me make one thing absolutely clear. I don’t blame people for voting to leave, given what they were told in 2016, and if they chose to go ahead in full possession of the facts, then I would accept it. I’m a democrat. But I’m afraid I’ve got some news for those who think we’ll all ultimately fall in behind some version of Brexit without any fresh mandate from the public.

I don’t think that would be democratic, and however long it takes, even if Britain does leave, this fight will go on. That is because we know our arguments are sound. The truth is, there is only one way to know whether the Prime Minister’s deal has “broad support” and that is to ask people to vote on it.

This is the only possible means of reuniting our country behind an agreed way forward, given that none of the options remotely matches the mendacious promises that were made in 2016. The understandable desire among voters for Brexit to be settled one way or another, so the country can focus on other things, will turn to incomprehension and fury when people realise that exit is just the start of another five to 10 years of pointless negotiation in which the EU has the upper hand.

So, whatever happens next, those of us on my side of the argument will not give up. To those who are agitating for their version of Brexit to proceed without the validation of a final-say referendum, we warn that the consequence will be the issue being contested for a generation. We won’t stop — after all, we have learned from the best, the Brexiteers themselves, who have pursued their ends ruthlessly and relentlessly for decades.

Fighting this fight may mean new political alliances and structures. If the Brexiteers do succeed in taking Britain out of the EU without the informed consent of the British people, I make this prediction: the UK will eventually re-enter the EU. In doing so, it will have to agree to join the euro and the Schengen area too — the worst nightmare of Eurosceptics. Much better to keep fighting to give the people the right to vote for what really is the best deal for Britain: the one we already have.

  • Dr Phillip Lee is MP for Bracknell and chair of the Right to Vote campaign of Conservatives backing a final-say referendum
  • This article was originally published in the Evening Standard: https://www.standard.co.uk/comment/comment/phillip-lee-brexit-without-a-people-s-vote-will-be-truly-undemocratic-a4068001.html