Remainers must realise that accusing Vote Leave of “cheating” won’t undo Brexit

Regardless of how we reached Brexit, the referendum result has three powerful guarantors.

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Brexit cancelled? Yesterday’s claim from Cambridge Analytica whistleblower Chris Wylie that the Leave campaign won by “cheating” has some Remainers calling for a second vote and others hoping that the result can simply be overturned by Parliament.

Did the Leave campaign cheat? The problem is that British electoral law is based on a series of fictions, and both sides did what they could to maximise the electoral bang they got for the financial buck. If Vote Leave or any of the other Brexit campaigns ended up on the wrong side of the law, then they should face the subsequent consequences. But no Remainer should kid themselves that their side wasn't up to similar tricks.

In any case, the egregious behaviour on the Vote Leave side – promising a liberal Brexit here, a close-the-gates Brexit there, an ultra-capitalist Leave vote to one person and a Bennite Brexit to another – was well within the rules and didn't require a helping hand from Cambridge Analytica or anyone else.

The forces that buried the Remain campaign – a hostile press and four decades of Euroscepticism mood music – haven't gone away and, bluntly put, some Remain campaigners would be better off if they tried to address the problem rather than treating the referendum defeat as a minor speedbump that can be sued out of existence.

Regardless of how we reached Brexit, the referendum result has three powerful guarantors: the first is the Conservative backbench, the second is the Labour frontbench and the third, and most important, is public opinion. One campaign that understands that is Best for Britain, which will today unveil a series of posters designed to encourage people to think again. Whether or not the posters work, they're are a better approach for Remainers than believing that talking about dirty tricks or legal loopholes will undo Brexit.

Stephen Bush is political editor of the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics. He also co-hosts the New Statesman podcast.

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