Lord Adonis brings the anti-Brexit message to Suffolk's EU Alliance
PUBLISHED: 19:21 11 July 2019 | UPDATED: 19:21 11 July 2019
Anti-Brexit campaigner Lord Andrew Adonis has visited Ipswich to support the Suffolk EU Alliance and encourage it to keep up its struggle to put forward a pro-European message.
The former Transport Secretary under Gordon Brown - who stood as a Labour candidate in May's European Election - addressed a meeting of the Alliance at the University of Suffolk.
Lord Adonis told the meeting that the battle to prevent Brexit could still be won - and said Boris Johnson was "bluffing" when he told Conservatives that we would definitely leave the EU on October 31.
He said: "There is a majority of 200 in the House of Commons against a no deal Brexit, and a majority of 60 against Theresa May's deal.
"And it is a fantasy to think he would be able to prorogue Parliament, to govern without MPs sitting. Charles I wasn't able to do that in the 1640s, what makes Boris Johnson think he can succeed where Charles I failed?"
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Lord Adonis said the most likely result of the Brexit crisis was a second referendum on Britain's membership of the EU - and he thought the East of England would be crucial in deciding that.
He said: "In 2016 this region did vote to leave, but there were areas of strong remain support and those have grown. I am a supporter of the People's Vote and we have to look for areas like this to help us reverse the decision."
He felt a referendum was more likely than a general election: "Because Conservative MPs know many of them would lose their seats and you won't get turkeys voting for Christmas!"
He believed that deep down Mr Johnson knew he would be unable to deliver on his promise to leave by October 31: "He is bluffing to get votes in the leadership. Parliament simply will not allow that to happen - and I think he realises that he is bluffing deep down."
The Suffolk EU Alliance was set up in 2016 following the vote to leave the EU and aims to promote the value of close co-operation with European countries.
It is affiliated to People's Vote and believes that, after what has emerged since the referendum, that the people should have the chance to vote again on the UK's membership of the EU.
Lord Adonis followed Lord Deben (John Gummer) and the philosopher AC Grayling who have already spoken at its meetings over the last few months.