Sir John Major, the former Prime Minister, has declared there is a “perfectly” credible case for a second EU referendum and warned that Brexit should not be dictated by the “tyranny of the majority”.

In his first intervention on the issue since the referendum in June, the former Conservative leader, who was in office between 1990 and 1997, told guests at a private dinner that the 48 per cent of people who voted to stay in the EU should not be denied a say in the trade terms of the deal.

Sir John – a prominent figure seen at David Cameron’s side during the referendum campaign – said he accepted Britain would not remain a full member but wanted the Brexit deal to allow the country to stay as close as possible to the other member states and the single market, which he dubbed “the richest market mankind has ever seen”.

The comments, reported by the Times, came at a private dinner to mark the 100th anniversary of David Lloyd George becoming Prime Minister.

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