Theresa May should make a prime ministerial broadcast to admit defeat on Brexit, according to former Liberal leader Lord Steel.
Lord Steel, who was once the UK’s most popular politician, said Mrs May needed to “call the whole thing off” and go back to the people.
He urged the Prime Minister to broadcast how she has “tried her best”, but Brexit has proved “too difficult and damaging” so she will go back to the voters and call a second referendum.
Lord Steel added: “In the words of the popular American song – let’s call the whole thing off.
“The PM should promise to work for reforms in the European institutions and to steer government investment to the underprivileged parts of England who, in desperation, voted out.”
The life peer campaigned in the UK’s first referendum in 1975 to remain in the European Economic Community, now the European Union.
In the latest referendum, Lord Steel said not enough emphasis was put on the success of the EU at preserving peace, following two World Wars.
“I was active in the 1975 referendum, but in this last one we heard little of the real reason for staying in the EU,” he said.
“Namely, the need to maintain a highly successful international unit which has guaranteed that never again would the nations of Europe be at destructive war.”
Now, the prime minister needs to face facts about the economic damage Chequers or a no-deal would cause, Lord Steel added.
Mrs May could cite the Governor of the Bank of England, the IMF, UK car makers and even the chairman of the John Lewis partnership in support of “project reality”, he suggested, but must turn back before it is too late.
Lord Steel led the Liberals from 1976-1988, when they became the Liberal Democrats, and was the Scottish Parliament’s first Presiding Officer.