Former cabinet minister Justine Greening calls for new EU referendum

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A former Cabinet minister who supported Remain has attacked Theresa May Brexit negotiating strategy and called for a referendum on the terms of the UK’s deal with Brussels.

In a sign of just how volatile the Conservative Party has become since the compromise Brexit plan was agreed at Chequers ten days ago, former education secretary Justine Greening claimed it offered the "worst of both worlds" and called for a second referendum.

"The only solution is to take the final Brexit decision out of the hands of deadlocked politicians, away from the backroom deals, and give it back to the people," she said in an article for The Times.

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The Chequers plan has come under sustained assault from Brexiteers, but Ms Greening added her voice to complaints, saying it would be “unacceptable” for the Prime Minister to impose a compromise on voters.

She proposed a three-option referendum to avoid a “divisive, binary choice”. Voters would be asked whether they wanted to leave the EU under the Prime Minister’s negotiated deal, with no deal at all, or remain in the EU.

A three-option referendum could be held using first- and second-preference votes, Ms Greening suggested. Other Remain-backing former senior ministers including Amber Rudd and Dominic Grieve could join her call over the next week, it has been reported.

A Downing Street spokesman said another EU referendum would not take place "under any circumstances".

Meanwhile Boris Johnson, in his first public intervention since his resignation last week, appealed for people to take a more positive view of Britain's prospects outside the EU.

In a sign that he was keeping his powder dry, he said in an article for The Daily Telegraph that he would resist "for now" the temptation "to bang on about Brexit".

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"It is time for all of us, at this critical moment in our constitutional development, to believe in ourselves, to believe in the British people and what they can do, and in our democracy," he wrote.

"People around the world believe passionately in Britain. It's time we shared their confidence."