Former foreign secretary David Miliband has again called for a second Brexit referendum, warning global instability since the 2016 vote has made it more dangerous for Britain.
In an implicit challenge to Jeremy Corbyn to back a second vote, Miliband said it was ‘not good enough’ for Labour to join Conservatives in saying it is too late for voters to think again.
With the US under Donald Trump retreating from its role as the ‘anchor of global order’ and other powers like Russia and China flexing their muscles, Brexit will weaken the UK at a time when it can least afford it, he warned.
Writing in the New Statesman, Miliband – who quit as a Labour MP in 2013 to head the International Rescue Committee – said there was ‘plenty reason to reconsider the fateful step of leaving Europe’s political alliance’.
‘We are entering the most dangerous period in international relations in three generations,’ he warned.
‘The real danger is that small and medium-sized states, like Britain, will increasingly be at the mercy of the interests of larger powers.’
The decision of both Labour and Tory leaderships to turn their backs on a second referendum had left it to MPs in Parliament to sound the alarm over the consequences of Brexit, he said.
But he insisted: ‘The end game in order to avert the damage of Brexit is going to need to be in the hands of the people.’
Miliband said that Trump’s redefinition of US interests was a ‘game-changer’ in terms of Britain’s national interests.
‘America is seeking a smaller role in the world when – and so – others are seeking to fill the vacuum,’ he wrote.
‘The world’s autocracies – from China to Russia to Turkey to the Gulf to Venezuela – are newly confident and clear about their power and license. They are making their plays.
‘And that changes the calculus for a medium-sized country on the edge of Europe.’
Britain’s success in winning the support of Western allies in the Salisbury poisoning case showed the importance of ‘the ties and institutions that bind liberal democracies together’, he added.
Brexit would remove Britain from ‘the political alliance that has magnified our power and influence over the last forty years’ and was ‘bound to have political consequences for the international order and for Britain’.
He added: ‘Brexit takes a brick out of the western alliance and the international order at a dangerous time. And for Britain it weakens us when we can least afford it.’