Sir John Major: Tyranny of the majority must not dictate Brexit terms

Posted On: 
25th November 2016

Sir John Major has demanded Remain voters have a say on the terms of Brexit, arguing the UK's withdrawal from the EU cannot be dictated by the “tyranny of the majority”.

Sir John Major said he could not accept that Remain voters should have no say on Brexit
Credit: 
PA Images

At a private dinner in Westminster the Tory former Prime Minister also told guests parliament should have the final say on the Brexit deal and added there was a “perfectly credible case” for a second referendum.

Sir John, who campaigned for Britain to stay tied to the bloc, made the comments shortly after his successor Tony Blair insisted the Brexit vote could be overturned if voters become convinced leaving the European Union will damage the economy.

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“I hear the argument that the 48% of people who voted to stay should have no say in what happens,” Sir John told the event to commemorate the 100 anniversary of Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister.

“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.”

Asked whether he thought Brits should vote again on the terms of the final Brexit deal, he argued: “That is a matter for parliament. You can make a perfectly credible case for it. I don’t know whether that will happen."

He added: “I think we need to see how things pan out before we decide exactly what needs to be done.”

And he hit out at those, including Prime Minister Theresa May, who insist the Brexit vote was a clear mandate to quit the bloc.

“I don’t think anyone can determine by osmosis what was in the minds of the 52 per cent of people who voted to leave,” he said.

“Some of the 52%... voted because they wanted to leave Europe, or they didn’t like the Government, or they didn’t like immigration, or they didn’t like the fact that there was a Sunday in the week.

"So it is very difficult to know precisely where the balance of real opinion lies.”

In an interview with the New Statesman yesterday Mr Blair refused to accept that the result of the 23 June referendum was the end of the matter – a view he admitted would be seen as “treason” by some.

He said: "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.

"I’m not saying it will by the way, but it could. I’m just saying: until you see what it means, how do you know?"