Former Finnish prime minister says he would put Brexit to a second vote

Key Points
  • Some U.K. lawmakers have been pushing for another referendum on Brexit, arguing that people now have a better idea of what leaving the European Union really means.
  • Stubb told CNBC that the Brexit impasse is much broader than the Irish backstop.
Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May speaks to the media after she arrives at the European Council for the start of the two day EU summit on December 13, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium.  
Dan Kitwood | Getty Images News | Getty Images

The U.K.'s withdrawal from the EU should be put to a second public vote to overcome the current impasse, the former prime minister of Finland told CNBC Monday.

The Brexit deadlock continues after Prime Minister Theresa May presented some changes to her plan to leave the European Union on Monday afternoon. This comes after U.K. lawmakers overwhelmingly defeated her proposals last week.

"I still think there are only three options on the table: Number one is the deal as it stands, number two is the hard Brexit ... and number three, basically, is a new referendum," Alexander Stubb, who is currently the vice president of the European Investment Bank, said at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

"(If I was) the prime minister of the United Kingdom, I would go back to the people, because the decision of having a new deal is as big as leaving the European Union," he added.

Some U.K. lawmakers have been pushing for another referendum on Brexit, arguing that people now have a better idea of what leaving the European Union really means.

Speaking in front of the U.K. Parliament, May said that it's the government's duty to implement the decision of the first vote.

"I fear a second referendum would set a difficult precedent that could have significant implications for how we handle referendums in this country," May said.

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Issue is bigger than the backstop

In her most recent approach to Brexit, May said she would meet with the DUP (The Democratic Unionist Party) — the Northern Irish party that props up her government in Parliament — to hear its concerns about the so-called Irish backstop.

This is a policy that features in the agreement that May reached with the EU over the U.K.'s departure. Some Brexiteers argue that it keeps Northern Ireland aligned with the rest of the EU indefinitely and it's been one of the most contentious issues in the entire Brexit process so far.

However, Stubb told CNBC that the Brexit impasse is much broader than the backstop.

"The whole issue is much more serious and complex than (the backstop). We saw the vote in the parliament … the mere reality is that Brexit is a simply bad value proposition."