Former press secretary to Tony Blair Alastair Campbell has said that Prime Minister Theresa May does not want to be “the person on whose watch the Conservative Party splits”.
The Prime Minister survived a no-confidence vote on her government on Wednesday night, with a majority of 19 votes.
He told talkRADIO’s Mike Graham: “I have thought for some time that all of the options that presumably Theresa May is pretending to discuss with people, are not going to demand a majority in Parliament.
“I think the Norway option would split the Conservative Party. I think the thing you have to remember about Theresa May – she does the vicar’s daughter and duty and resilience stuff very well – she is utterly motivated by not being the person on whose watch the Conservative Party splits. That is a really big thing for her.”
People's Vote campaigners outside of the Houses of Parliament in Westminster, London.
Following the failed no-confidence motion, Mrs May proposed meeting with parliamentary party leaders individually to discuss possible solutions for the Brexit negotiations.
Mr Campbell said the Prime Minister “should have done this two years ago”.
He added: “One of the many mistakes she made right at the beginning of this process when she became Prime Minister was that she did not reach out to anybody.
“She said it was all about the 52%, she still thinks we have to deliver it and there is no way out.
“Ultimately, this idea that it is anti-democratic to put this back to the people and say ‘do you still want to go ahead based on what you know?’ – I think it is nonsense.”
Defending proposals for a People’s Vote, Mr Campbell said the second referendum would not be “ignoring the first vote”.
“MPs have looked at the deal – it is their job – and this is the Brexit that the Government is putting forward and have said that it just does not work,” he said.
“It is for all sorts of reasons, it is not just about the backstop, it is about trade, security and all these other issues that give people a reason to say that this is a bad deal.
“I think what the negotiations have shown is that there is no good deal, there is certainly no deal better than the one we have got.
"On that basis, I cannot for the life of me understand why it is not the democratic thing to do to put it back because it is so different to what was promised by Boris Johnson and the rest of them in 2016.”