Britain should have a second referendum on the terms of exiting the EU if it can secure a new deal to control its borders, Jeremy Hunt has said.
The health secretary has said the prime minister must be allowed to “negotiate a deal” with Brussels and “put it to the British people” by either calling a general election or having another vote.
Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Mr Hunt said Britain must remain in the single market and reach a “sensible compromise” with the EU of freedom of movement rules to allow the UK to control migration..
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.
Mr Hunt's comments follow Poland putting forward the case for Britain to have a second referendum.
David Cameron will meet European leaders for the first time since the vote at a European Council meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.
The prime minister told MPs on Monday it was up to Britain when it decided to withdraw from the EU.
European diplomats have said Britain cannot access the EU’s single market unless it accepts free movement.
The people have spoken - and Parliament must listen. Britain must and will leave the EU. But we did not vote on the terms of our departure.
Mr Hunt wrote in the Telegraph: “So our plan must be to encourage them to reform those rules, thereby opening up a space for a ‘Norway plus’ option for us - full access to the single market with a sensible compromise on free movement rules.
"As their biggest non-EU trading partner, it is in the European interest to do this deal with them as much as it is in our interests to secure it.”
He says by negotiating an exit deal and putting it to the British people in a vote, it will “concentrate minds across the Channel: if they want to conclude this amicably and quickly, which is in their interests as much as ours, they need to put a ‘Norway plus’ deal on the table”.