EU leaders back Lib Dem call for public to decide on Brexit deal

Eight EU leaders have signed a statement backing Liberal Democrat calls for the British public to have the final say on any Brexit deal.

The joint statement - backed by prime ministers of the Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Luxembourg, Slovenia, Estonia and the Czech Republic - was released after Sir Vince Cable travelled to Brussels for a meeting with fellow liberal leaders on the margins of the European Council.

Sir Vince - who is campaigning for a second referendum on the Brexit deal - said the statement showed that other EU states would "welcome an exit from Brexit with open arms".

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In the statement, the eight prime ministers said: "We regret Brexit, but acknowledge the choice made by British voters for the UK Government to negotiate withdrawal.

"We further acknowledge and support the Liberal Democrats' call for the British people to have the final say on the Brexit deal.

"All parties need to seek a broad deal accommodating both the position of the UK Government and the principles on which the European Union is built."

Sir Vince said: "This is a clear signal from our European friends that they want us to remain in the European Union and would welcome an exit from Brexit with open arms.

"Polls show that there is a growing desire among the British public for a vote on the terms of the deal. People can now be reassured that there is no desire among EU leaders to punish us if we decided to remain in the bloc.

"The message is clear: Brexit is not inevitable."