Sir John Major has become the second former prime minister within 24 hours to question the Brexit process, saying there is a “perfectly credible” case for a second referendum on leaving the European Union.
Speaking shortly after Tony Blair argued in an interview that Brexit could be reversed if the public changed its mind, Major said that the 48% of voters who wanted to remain should not be subject to the “tyranny of the majority.”
The former Conservative prime minister said in a speech at a private dinner on Thursday that the opinions of remain voters should be heard in the debate about how Britain left the EU, the Times reported.
In his first intervention over the issue since the 23 June referendum, Major said he accepted the UK would not remain a full member of the EU, but hoped any Brexit deal would mean the UK remained as close as possible to EU members and the single market, which he described as “the richest market mankind has ever seen.”
Whatever happened with Brexit, he said, he could not accept that those people who voted to remain should have no input on the terms of Brexit.
“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.”
Major argued that it must be parliament, not the government, that made the final decision on any new deal with the EU, and there was a “perfectly credible case” for a second referendum on such a deal.