Doncaster MP Ed Miliband has said if he won the 2015 general election as Labour leader the Brexit referendum would ‘never have happened’.
Mr Miliband responded to an audience question asking what would the country be like if people ‘voted for chaos for chaos with Ed Miliband’ – a reference to a soundbite former PM David Cameron used in the election campaign.
The former party leader, who stepped down immediately after the general election, was speaking at an event hosted by Centre for Cities alongside Doncaster’s elected mayor Ros Jones.
Miliband also praised Mayor Jones and outgoing chief executive Jo Miller for ‘steering Doncaster Council in the right direction’ through austerity and taking over a council ‘seen as a basket case’ local authority.
Doncaster Council has been making preparations around Brexit and holding two meetings in previous months where councillors heard updates on their plans.
The Doncaster North MP said: “I was Prime Minister we wouldn’t have had the referendum and therefore we wouldn’t have wasted more than three years on the details of the Customs Union.
“We would’ve been talking about the health service, education, towns, cities and their future and that’s the core regret that I would have.
“There’s moments in history where you can think big about the change people but I really think it’s important – and they’ll be people in this room who voted to remain and leave – both sets of people wanted big change.
“Whether it’s the young people going on strike from their schools because they’re worried about their future on climate change or the people in my constituency where that might not be the number one issue but are saying ‘what is my son or daughter going to do in the future? What job are they going to do?’
"They’re both asking the same things about what is the future going to be like.
“What I know from my constituency which voted 70 per cent for Brexit was Europe was a part (of the problem) but it went far, far deeper than that.
“It was people saying we’ve had enough, we want something different and you’ve got to deliver something different.”