Theresa May says MPs will get vote on whether to hold second referendum

MPs will be given the opportunity to vote on whether to hold a second referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union, Theresa May has announced.

The Prime Minister said the vote would be contained in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill, as she warned that a failure to reach an agreement on Brexit would lead to a "nightmare future of permanently polarised politics".

Speaking in central London, Mrs May outlined how her "new Brexit deal" differs to the previous deals rejected by Parliament – including a commitment in law to let Parliament decide on the customs issue.

She said: "I recognise the genuine and sincere strength of feeling across the House on this important issue.

"The Government will therefore include in the Withdrawal Agreement Bill at introduction a requirement to vote on whether to hold a second referendum and this must take place before the Withdrawal Agreement can be ratified."

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'One million' march in anti-Brexit protest
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'One million' march in anti-Brexit protest
Delia Smith joins with anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Richard Bacon and Mariella Frostrup address anti-Brexit campaigners in Parliament Square as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
NOTE LANGUAGE ON PLACARDS Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Protesters take part in the Put It To The People March on Whitehall on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to take part in the Put It To The People March, organised by the People’s Vote campaign, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, calling for a public vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Protesters take part in the Put It To The People March on Whitehall on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to take part in the Put It To The People March, organised by the People’s Vote campaign, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, calling for a public vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Anti Brexit activists stage a demonstration demanding a new referendum on the issue in London, United Kingdom on March 23, 2019. (Photo by Tayfun Salci/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
People hold up a heart-shaped European flag placard as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
Demonstrators carry a placard depicting Theresa May, U.K prime minister, and European Union flags as they march during the anti-Brexit People's Vote rally in London, U.K., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The campaign to give U.K. citizens a vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, twice defeated by Parliament, holds the rally after European Union leaders gave May an extra two weeks to work out what to do. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators carry placards and European Union flags as they march during the anti-Brexit People's Vote rally in London, U.K., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The campaign to give U.K. citizens a vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, twice defeated by Parliament, holds the rally after European Union leaders gave May an extra two weeks to work out what to do. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Demonstrators carry placards and banners as they march during the anti-Brexit People's Vote rally in London, U.K., on Saturday, March 23, 2019. The campaign to give U.K. citizens a vote on U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, twice defeated by Parliament, holds the rally after European Union leaders gave May an extra two weeks to work out what to do. Photographer: Luke MacGregor/Bloomberg via Getty Images
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 23: Thousands of demonstrators take to the streets of London during the People’s Vote March on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Organised by the People’s Vote Campaign the rally brought thousands of people from all over the country to the march through the streets with campaigners calling for the final Brexit deal to be put to the people. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)
A puppet head of Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May spearing a representation of the British Economy is taken on a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second EU referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards and European flags as they pass Trafalgar Square on a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Isabel INFANTES / AFP) (Photo credit should read ISABEL INFANTES/AFP/Getty Images)
People hold up placards as they attend a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
A woman holds up a placard calling for 'remain' as she attends a march and rally organised by the pro-European People's Vote campaign for a second referendum in central London on March 23, 2019. - Hundreds of thousands of pro-Europeans from across Britain were expected to march through London on Saturday calling for another referendum on EU membership with the country mired in political paralysis over Brexit. (Photo by Niklas HALLE'N / AFP) (Photo credit should read NIKLAS HALLE'N/AFP/Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Aaron Chown/PA Images via Getty Images)
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE LANGUAGE ON SIGNS. Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London. (Photo by Yui Mok/PA Images via Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MARCH 23: Leader of the Liberal Democrats Sir Vince Cable MP (C) takes part in the Put It To The People March on March 23, 2019 in London, England. Thousands of protesters gathered in central London to take part in the Put It To The People March, organised by the People’s Vote campaign, from Park Lane to Parliament Square, calling for a public vote on the Government’s final Brexit deal. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)
A general view of Anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. Picture credit should read: Matt Crossick/EMPICS
A general view of Anti-Brexit campaigners as they take part in the People's Vote March in London. Picture credit should read: Matt Crossick/EMPICS
EDITORS PLEASE NOTE LANGUAGE ON SIGNS. Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London.
Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the People's Vote March in London.
EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
An EU supporter with the EU flag painted on her face, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participates in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez
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Mrs May also told the audience at PWC in London that the Government would introduce a new Workers' Rights Bill to "ensure UK workers enjoy rights that are every bit as good as, or better than, those provided for by EU rules.

"And we will discuss further amendments with trade unions and businesses."

Mrs May said the deal sets out that the Government will seek to conclude Alternative Arrangements to replace the controversial Irish backstop by December 2020, "so that it never needs to be used".

Should it be used, she said the Government was committed to keeping Great Britain aligned with Northern Ireland.

MPs will have to approve the negotiating objects and final treaties for the UK's future relationship with the EU.

And Mrs May said there would be "no change in the level of environmental protection when we leave the EU".

She also pledged that the UK would seek "as close to frictionless trade in goods with the EU as possible" while outside the single market – while ending free movement.

And the UK will "keep up to date" with EU rules for goods and agri-food products that are relevant to checks at the border.

Mrs May said there would be a legal duty to secure changes to the political declaration to reflect the new deal.

In a plea to MPs, she concluded: "I say with conviction to every MP of every party – I have compromised. Now I ask you to compromise too.

"We have been given a clear instruction by the people we are supposed to represent.

"So help me find a way to honour that instruction, move our country and our politics forward, and build the better future that all of us want to see."

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