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David Miliband and Sir John Major join forces to call for second Brexit referendum

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David Miliband has told Sky News the UK is facing a “national crisis” over Brexit as he joined forces with Sir John Major to call for second vote on whether to the leave the European Union.

The former Labour foreign secretary said the “Brexit fantasy” proposed at the 2016 referendum is no longer on offer and any exit deal agreed with the EU should be put to the British people.

He was joined by Sir John in Mr Miliband’s old constituency of South Shields in Tyneside, where the ex-Tory prime minister said he could not see an “intellectual argument” against rerunning the ballot.

Mr Miliband told Sky News: “The Brexit that was offered and 17 million people voted for two years ago is not on offer today.

Sir John Major (right) and David Miliband speak on Brexit during a Best for Britain event at the Harton Academy
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The former MPs say a ‘fantasy’ Brexit was proposed in 2016

“John Major described it as a fantasy Brexit, but the Brexit of £350m for the NHS per week, the Brexit of trade deals the day after we leave the EU, the Brexit of friction-less trade with the EU once we have left, that is not on offer.

“Democracy shouldn’t be allowed to die on the 23rd June 2016.

“It must be right that since the deal that is being done bears so little resemblance to the Brexit case that was put two years ago, the final deal should be put to the British people and they should have the chance to decide whether or not they want to go ahead.”

Mr Miliband, who stepped down as an MP in 2013, said he hoped to have seen a “stronger” stance on Brexit from Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

He added: “I would argue there is a very strong case… for a stronger line that says the Brexit fantasy that was proposed two years ago is not on offer and while it’s the government’s job to negotiate a deal with the European Union, it’s vital for the stability and security of the country going forward… that the deal is put back to the country.

“I would have liked to have seen Labour take a stronger line on that.

“The facts on the ground speak to a moment of really quite grave national crisis that needs to be addressed, not just be the government but also by the opposition.”

Speaking at the event at Harton Academy, Sir John said the public should be allowed to vote again on whether to leave the EU because Leave presented a “fantasy case” at the 2016 referendum.

“Almost nothing that was said to be the case has turned out to be the case,” he told the audience.

“It doesn’t seem to me undemocratic when you have a deal, to place that deal with the details of what the deal is… in front of the nation again so that based on fact not fantasy they can re-endorse their position on the European Union or decide differently.”

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