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A re-run of the historic 2016 EU referendum was seen by Brussels as a “credible option” for a way of breaking the bitter parliamentary deadlock under Theresa May. EU bureaucrats believed Remainer MPs could have forced the former prime minister’s hand to hold another vote on Britain’s membership of the bloc. Their thinking has been revealed as part of a “scene setter” prepared for Pierre Moscovici, the European economic affairs commissioner, ahead of a meeting with Tony Blairat Davos in January.
Mr Moscovici’s aides told their boss that a second Brexit vote should not be considered a “distant dream”, according to the memo.
“Since you last saw Tony Blair in Davos a year ago, the position he is defending, a second referendum on Brexit, has gone from a distant dream to which few attached such credibility, to one of the most frequently talked about possible outcomes to the current impasse,” the note said, according to news website EU Observer.
The briefing note suggested that Mr Moscovici ask the former Labour Party prime minister a series of questions about possible routes MPs could take to force a second referendum.
The list of questions included: “What in your view happens to Theresa May if Parliament forces her hand and a second referendum is called? Does she finally step down?
“How optimistic are you that in case of a second vote, Remain would win this time? I know the demographics have shifted the odds in Remain’s favour, but aren’t you concerned about a backlash and a sense of betrayal? Won’t the campaign be even uglier than in 2016??
Mr Moscovici and Mr Blair held their meeting at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss resort of Davos in January.
Their meeting took place shortly after Mrs May’s withdrawal agreement suffered its historic first defeat in the House of Commons.
The revelations will only fuel Boris Johnson’s allegations that Brussels is still hopeful that Remainer MPs can prevent a no-deal Brexit.
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