Jeremy Hunt has said there should be a second referendum on Britain’s terms for leaving the European Union.
The Health Secretary, writing in the Daily Telegraph, said the public did not vote on the conditions of the country’s departure and has called for a deal to be negotiated, then put before the electorate.
He also said the Government as part of its plan, needs to make it clear that remaining in the single market is an “explicit national objective” as well as doing “everything possible to restore stability”.
He said: “We must not invoke Article 50 straight away because that puts a time limit of two years on negotiations after which we could be thrown out with no deal at all.
“So before setting the clock ticking, we need to negotiate a deal and put it to the British people, either in a referendum or through the Conservative manifesto at a fresh general election.”
As part of the Britain’s negotiation plan, the Conservative cabinet minister said EU countries should be encouraged to reform the rules of free movement, allowing for a “Norway plus” deal for Britain.
This, he said, would include full access to the single market with a “sensible compromise on free movement rules”.
Mr Hunt, who was in the Remain camp, also added that it was “crucial” to understand the message given by voters – that “the country has rejected the free movement of people as it currently operates”.
“The political establishment – of all parties – has been punished for leading people up the garden path on immigration: for decades when people have said “there is too much immigration” we have said “we agree” and then appeared to do nothing,” he added.
Mr Hunt also said that the Tories must unite the party after the “bruising battle” on the referendum and remain committed to uniting the country.
He also called for all the prospective Tory leadership contenders to promise that the current 110,000 EU citizens working in the UK would be granted permanent residence.