The intervention of the man sacked by Mrs May, who became editor of the Evening Standard after quitting parliament in 2017, comes as Remainers in the Cabinet led by Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd are reportedly urging Mrs May to consider a second referendum. Mr Osborne accused the PM of following a “Brexit means Brexit” ideology because she backed Remain, “albeit sotto voce”, and therefore “had to prove her Brexit credentials”. He added: “That was essentially a massive mistake by the Conservative administration, which it was punished for at the general election because the Conservative Party decided to embrace the Brexit result in such a way as to essentially dismiss the views of those who voted Remain, treat them as saboteurs or traitors, and run against urban Britain.”
He admitted he tried to stop David Cameron from holding the referendum in the first place.
Mr Osborne attacked the “reckless decision of hard Brexiteers” to pursue a no-deal Brexit, saying: “I don’t think the country voted to mobilise the Army, stockpile medicine, hoard food and go around the world buying every fridge available.
“That is not what was offered and that is now what is happening.”
He also said the likelihood of a general election had been under reported but a second referendum was the best way to avoid the measure.
A Downing Street spokesman dismissed the former Chancellor’s latest intervention and made it clear Mrs May believes a second referendum will damage the country.
The spokesman said: “The Prime Minister has been very clear that a second referendum would risk dividing the country at the very time it needs to unite and it would undermine the British people’s faith in democracy. The Prime Minister is focused on getting her deal through Parliament and delivering on the referendum result.”
Tory MPs also rounded on Mr Osborne who is widely blamed for manufacturing the Project Fear.
Tory MP Peter Bone said: “George Osborne has always thought he knows better than the British people.
“I remember him saying before the referendum that this would be the only one and the result would have to be respected. Of course that is when he thought he was going to win.”
The pressure for a second vote has risen because it is expected Labour’s leadership is on the verge of backing it with shadow Chancellor John McDonnell pushing the proposal.
However, the depth of betrayal of Leave voters in Labour heartlands was highlighted in a letter by 36 Labour MPs to Jeremy Corbyn demanding he backs a second vote in the country.
It emerged that 12 of the MPs who signed represent Leave voting constituencies. They include ex-Europe minister Chris Bryant (Rhonda), Jess Phillips (Birmingham Yardley), Angela Smith (Penistone and Stockbridge), Anna Turley (Redcar), and Dame Margaret Hodge (Barking), whose constituencies were more than 60 per cent in favour of Leave.