David Miliband calls for second vote on EU membership

Posted On: 
13th August 2017

David Miliband has called for Parliament or the British people to have the opportunity to keep the UK inside the European Union at the end of the negotiation process. 

Former foreign secretary David Miliband
PA Images

The former foreign secretary said either MPs should have a “straight vote” between EU membership and the alternative negotiated by the Government, or it should be put to another referendum.

Mr Miliband likened the Brexit negotiations to US Republicans’ floundering efforts to find a replacement for the Obamacare healthcare system.

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He wrote in the Observer today: “The case against the EU depends on avoiding a discussion of the alternative. It is the equivalent of voting to repeal Obamacare without knowing the replacement.

“It is a stitch-up. That is one reason it is essential that parliament or the public are given the chance to have a straight vote between EU membership and the negotiated alternative. That is a democratic demand, not just a prudent one.”

The Government has said MPs will vote on the deal agreed with Brussels, with the UK set to fall out of the EU without any deal if Parliament rejected the terms.

Mr Miliband urged politicians worried about the consequences of Brexit to coordinate, and not to allow the debate to be driven by Leave supporters.

“The fightback against the worst consequences of the referendum has the opportunity and responsibility to get its bearings fast,” the former Labour leadership hopeful said.

“People say we must respect the referendum. We should. But democracy did not end on 23 June 2016. The referendum will be no excuse if the country is driven off a cliff.

“MPs are there to exercise judgment. Delegating to Theresa May and David Davis, never mind Boris Johnson and Liam Fox, the settlement of a workable alternative to EU membership is a delusion, not just an abdication.”

He added that Brexit was an “unparalleled act of economic self-harm” and paid tribute to Conservative Chancellor Philip Hammond, who has been driving calls within the Cabinet for a transition deal with the EU to avoid a “cliff-edge” scenario.