Brexit: A Second Referendum?

John MajorSource: The Guardian, November 25

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.

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3 responses to “Brexit: A Second Referendum?

  1. In this context does the rejection of the “tyranny of the majority” imply respect for the tyrranny of the minority? What is the purpose of seeking the voters’ view on a given issue by a referendum?

  2. Anglo Saxon `England’ was `unified’ at the point of a sword 1200 years ago. A century later Norman/French butchers used terror to further cement the join before yet more sword and axe play added Wales and finally Scotland.
    The cracks are now showing. The comfortable south east might have voted to stay in Europe, but in the north and west people had, for the first time in centuries been given the chance to show their feelings about exploitive colonisation. They voted accordingly.
    It might have been illogical, but it was legitimate nonetheless and certainly not something that should be ignored by a Wessex minority.

  3. What a mess for the World! The U.S. and the U.K inching toward constitutional crises with a spectre of succession. Still can’t figure out why “remain” did such a poor job in articulating the risks and costs of a Brexit vote during the campaign that are now emerging.