A controversial politician in the U.K.'s ruling Conservative Party has become the first senior government figure to hint at a second EU referendum vote, in what may prove a forlorn hope for disappointed "remain" voters.
The triumph of the "leave" vote in Thursday's referendum stunned global financial markets and many of the U.K. public, some of whom are clamoring for a chance to vote again.
A petition posted on the official U.K. government website calling for a second referendum has gained 3.9 million signatures and is under consideration for a debate in parliament, although outgoing U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron has ruled out the possibility of another vote on Brexit.
However, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt raised the possibility of another vote to endorse the terms of the U.K.'s exit from the EU on Tuesday, in a television interview in which he strongly hinted he would run to succeed Cameron as prime minister.
"I don't think it needs to be another referendum, but there needs to be some democratic endorsement of the terms in which we leave," Hunt, who supported "remain," told ITV's "Good Morning Britain" program.
"We have had nine general elections since we joined the EU and this is such a big thing that I think the terms on which we leave the EU also need to have the support of the British people and I also think that is the way we will get a better deal from our European partners," he later added.