WITH Prime Minister Theresa May reportedly opposed to any new Brexit referendum and the Labour Party’s Brexit secretary insisting one must be part of any cross-party European withdrawal deal, it looks as if next week’s Euro elections could be the nearest thing the UK gets to having another say on the issue which has bedevilled politics for three years.

When the Daily Echo spoke to people in Bournemouth town centre we discovered that around half of those questioned were intending to treat the May 23 poll as a referendum on Brexit.

Clive, 46, a builder who lives in Winton, said he’d be treating the Euro poll as a referendum. He voted Leave and would vote for the Brexit party this time, he said.

Student Megan, 18, said she would vote ‘in case we don’t get a referendum’ and intended to vote for one of the Remain parties.

Mike Cartner lives in both Bournemouth and Hertfordshire and said he would be treating the election as a proper vote, but protest by voting for the Green MEP because he was a Remainer and was ‘tired’ of the on-going situation.

A Bournemouth pensioner who asked not to give her name, said she was ‘worried’ because: “I think people just aren’t interested in it anymore, maybe not even in voting,” she said. “I can’t see all this having a good conclusion, whatever happens.” However, she didn’t believe the vote would be seen as a second referendum.

Daphne Whittle was on holiday from the Liverpool area. “I was a Leaver but I don’t think it’s going to affect people like me as much, I’m 82, the younger people in the long term are the ones it will affect,” she said.

She believes people will vote in the election as an election not a referendum, but: “I do think people are getting sick of it all, whatever their beliefs,” she said.

The divisive nature of the original referendum is one of the reasons the Rev Pip Martin has organised what may well be the only public cross-party forum to take place in Dorset for the Euro poll.

At 7pm this evening the doors will open at St Aldhelm’s Church in Branksome for a forum to which every political party fielding candidates in Dorset has been invited. The event will be chaired by Daily Echo editor, Andy Martin.

Rev Martin believes that many voters will regard the May 23 poll as a referendum but he hopes tonight’s forum will be about more than ‘just for or against Brexit’ . “The European elections are real and these MEPs are going to be paid quite generous salaries for quite a long time when they are in office, which may be a few weeks or several years,” he said.

He also hopes the audience will quiz the panel on: “What they will do to help bring the country together because, whatever the outcome, there’s a lot of healing work to be done.”

He believes the issue is ‘causing divisions’, and that people feel ‘let down by the process’, whatever their original belief.