June 7, 2018 / 9:03 PM / 9 months ago

Soros-backed anti-Brexit group targets MPs in push for new referendum

LONDON, June 7 (Reuters) - An anti-Brexit group backed by billionaire financier George Soros said on Thursday it would target lawmakers in an attempt to strengthen its campaign for a new referendum on Britain’s departure from the European Union.

The group, Best for Britain, which aims to keep Britain in the EU, urged members of parliament to rally behind its demand for a vote on the terms of whatever deal London and Brussels hammer out.

“At such a time of crisis, other voices would usually speak out and help the country change course. A few brave politicians are doing this publicly. Meanwhile, the rest stay silent or peddle party lines,” the group said in a statement.

“We must end the chaos of Brexit and focus minds on bridging the divide in our country and repairing our society.”

The group was scheduled to launch a campaign on Friday to try to persuade 100 members of parliament to back its demands for a second Brexit referendum.

Soros has agreed to give Best for Britain 500,000 pounds ($671,250), angering some Brexit supporters who say he is seeking to undermine the outcome of the 2016 referendum which resulted in a 52-48 percent result in favour of leaving the EU.

Prime Minister Theresa May and the opposition Labour Party have ruled out the possibility of a second referendum, saying Britain will leave the EU in March next year.

May faces a series of votes in the lower house of parliament next week on attempted changes to her Brexit plan by members of the unelected upper chamber.

May’s ministers are split on what kind of customs deal Britain should seek from the EU ahead of a summit of the bloc’s leaders which will try to make progress on the stalemated Brexit negotiations this month.

Writing by William Schomberg, Editing by William Maclean

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