John Major: It’s reckless to ignore indyref2 risk over Brexit

Former PM John Major speaks about Britain and Europe's future at Chatham House. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
Former PM John Major speaks about Britain and Europe's future at Chatham House. Picture: AFP/Getty Images
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Former prime minister Sir John Major has warned it would be “reckless” to ignore the risk of a second independence referendum from a hard Brexit, as he took Theresa May to task over her approach to negotiations with the EU.

He said he had watched with “growing concern” over the way the country has been led to expect a future outside the European Union that is “unreal and over-optimistic”.

Sir John called on Theresa May to inject “a little more charm and a lot less cheap rhetoric” into Brexit negotiations and warned the most vulnerable are likely to be hit hardest by the impact of quitting the bloc.

“Behind the diplomatic civilities, the atmosphere is already sour,” he said. “A little more charm, and a lot less cheap rhetoric, would do much to protect the UK’s interests.”

In a speech last night, the former Prime Minister warned that “a hard Brexit will encourage a second referendum on independence. This may seem improbable at the moment, but it would be reckless to ignore the risk.

“As we saw last June, emotion and national pride can overcome economic self-interest. If Scotland were to become independent, both she and the UK would be diminished. That cannot be ignored as Brexit evolves.”