Prominent remain supporters including former British prime ministers Tony Blair and John Major have been working with Nick Clegg and Lord Mandelson on a parallel diplomatic mission to persuade European leaders to stop Brexit.

Clegg, the former deputy prime minister, began his diplomatic mission independently, but has taken on the role of informal shop steward to the grandees.

In recent weeks, Clegg has met Mark Rutte, the Dutch prime minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, the German Bundestag president, Peter Altmeier, the German economics minister, Sigmar Gabriel, the former German foreign minister and senior officials in the foreign policy team of French president Emmanuel Macron.

Last week Blair met senior politicians in Germany and Austria, as well as the new interior minister Matteo Salvini. The People’s Vote campaign, working alongside Clegg, has also appointed Tom Cole, a former EU commission official, to stay in regular contact with EU embassies in London.

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