Lord Heseltine gives a stark warning over Theresa May’s conduct in the Brexit negotiations
Tory rebel Michael Heseltine has launched a scathing attack on the Prime Minister’s handling of Brexit and accused her of leaving many party members feeling “appalled and betrayed”.
The Conservative former deputy prime minister dismissed comments made by Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson suggesting it would be fine for the UK to crash out of the EU without a deal as “rubbish”.
And Lord Heseltine – who was last week sacked as a Government adviser for rebelling over Brexit – insisted he will stay in his party “and fight”.
He said: “My postbag is from that very, very large minority – almost half – many of whom are bitterly disappointed with the Tory Party.
“the fact is that a huge number of Conservatives are appalled, they feel they have been betrayed by what is going on now.”
“Those of us in politics, those who care, we are not performing fleas where the ringmaster says ‘jump’ and we all turn hands up over ourselves. We are not like that.
“We happen to believe, for all sorts of very powerful reasons, that British self-interest was inextricably interwoven with those of our European allies.”
“I remember this phrase I think – pick your party, damn your principles. Well I hope I don’t damn my principles but I won’t leave my party.”
The Brexit Secretary David Davis had earlier revealed that the Government is drafting emergency contingency plans in case Britain crashes out of the European Union without a
Mr Davis told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show that he had briefed the Cabinet on contingency plans and that the country would be ready if the negotiations “go wrong”.
“The aim is to get a good outcome and I’m confident I’ll get a good outcome.
“One of the reasons we don’t talk about the contingency plan too much is we don’t want people to think this is what we are trying to do.”
But the Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said there was real possibility the talks could end with no deal and added it had seen no evidence of serious contingency planning by Government.
Boris Johnson said it is “excessively pessimistic” of the select committee to suggest there is a real possibility Britain will tumble out of the EU with no deal and revert to World Trade Organisation rules.
But he said that if this did happen it would not be “apocalyptic” and the UK would continue to thrive.
Britain has a Brexit backup plan if talks fail, says minister David Davis.
Britain is drawing up contingency plans for the unlikely event it has to walk away from divorce talks with the European Union without a deal, Brexit minister David Davis said on Sunday.
Prime Minister Theresa May is set to begin exit talks by the end of the month, kicking off Britain’s most complex set of negotiations since the end of World War Two. The outcome will shape Britain’s political and economic future.
Parliament’s Foreign Affairs committee warned that a breakdown in negotiations would be a “very destructive outcome”, causing economic harm to both sides as well as creating uncertainty and legal confusion for individuals and businesses.
“The simple truth is we have been planning for the contingency – all the various outcomes, all the possible outcomes of the negotiations,” Davis said.
“One of the reasons we don’t talk about the contingency plan too much is that we don’t want people to think ‘Oh, this is what we’re trying to do.'”
Before May can begin negotiations, she must finish passing the legislation that gives her the right to formally notify the EU of Britain’s intention to leave and start a two-year negotiating period as set out in the EU’s Lisbon treaty.
The laws are expected to be finalised in a series of votes early next week, which will test May’s authority over her Conservative Party as she seeks to overturn changes made to the draft bill by parliament’s upper chamber.
“What we can’t have is either house of parliament reversing the decision of the British people – they haven’t got a veto,” Davis said.