Sir John Major says case for second Brexit referendum 'credible'

Sir John Major said there is a case for a second referendum on Britain's membership of the EU 
David Hughes, Press Association

?Former British prime minister Sir John Major has said there is a "perfectly credible case" for a second referendum on membership of the European Union.

The ex-Conservative leader told guests at a private dinner that the British Parliament, not the government, should make the final decision on any new deal with the remaining members of the EU and insisted that the views of Remain voters should be heard.?

"I hear the argument that the 48% of people who voted to stay should have no say in what happens," he said.

"I find that very difficult to accept. The tyranny of the majority has never applied in a democracy and it should not apply in this particular democracy."

Sir John, in a speech and Q&A to mark the 100th anniversary of David Lloyd George becoming prime minister, hailed the single market as "the richest market mankind has ever seen" in his first intervention in the Brexit debate since the June 23 vote.

The former prime minister's time in Number 10 was marked by a series of bruising battles with his own MPs over Europe and his comments are likely to cause fresh anger among Eurosceptic Tories.

His comments come after his successor in Downing Street, Tony Blair, suggested the Brexit process could be halted.

The former Labour leader told the New Statesman: "It can be stopped if the British people decide that, having seen what it means, the pain gain cost-benefit analysis doesn't stack up."

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron said: "When a former Conservative Prime Minister publicly comes out in support of a Lib Dem policy, it shows we are the only sensible party on Brexit.

"The British people voted for departure but they didn't vote for a destination, and they certainly didn't vote to make the nation poorer and risk jobs.

"The haphazard way May's cabinet are handling Brexit makes the case for a referendum on the deal stronger each day, and we're glad to have growing cross-party support for this campaign."

Leave.EU spokesman Tom Brooke said: "It was undeniably clear to voters at the time of the referendum that a vote to leave was a vote to leave the single market and for greater control over immigration. This is what the people voted for and must be a red line in any negotiation.

"Major talks about the tyranny of the majority, but we cannot envisage anything more tyrannical than our out-of-touch political elite delaying and blocking Brexit before eventually watering down the deal to look nothing like the deal Britain voted for."

Responding to Sir John's comments, a Downing Street spokesman said: "We've been clear all along that the people of the United Kingdom have given the government a very clear instruction to take us out of the European Union.

"I think even Sir John has accepted that we are going to be leaving the European Union. The government intends to fulfil that demand in a way that meets all our obligations.

"There has been a referendum, there was a very large turn-out, the vote was decisive. The government is now focused on getting on with the business of exiting the European Union."


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