LONDON – Theresa May’s government is “hopelessly split” over Brexit and ministers need to “grow up” the former Conservative chancellor Ken Clarke has insisted.
Speaking to Bloomberg on Friday, the staunch Europhile accused the Cabinet of being “totally confused” and without a plan for negotiating Britain’s exit from the EU.
Clarke – who served as a minister for Margaret Thatcher, John Major and David Cameron – has been one of the Conservative Party’s most vocal critics of Brexit and the government’s handling of Britain’s imminent departure from the 28-nation bloc.
Today Clarke took aim at May’s government again as it struggles to articulate a unified position on Brexit.
Here’s what he said:
“The party is hopelessly split on Europe and has no idea or collective agreement on what it wishes to do as it leaves the European Union. No more has the Labour Party. She takes over a totally confused situation where there is no road map and not even her cabinet colleagues agree with each other. It’s a long, hard road to go before we have a negotiation strategy and long-term objectives.
“She should send all of her colleagues away with buckets and spades and get them to calm down and give up politics for a week or two. Then come back and get them to settle down and calmly start producing a serious, grown-up, detailed strategy for negotiations. In my opinion, you’ll only get it through the House of Commons if you take a more broad, cross-party approach. There’s hardly anybody in the House of Commons who wants another election. Jeremy Corbyn might because he has been carried away at Glastonbury and thinks he’s going to become prime minister but he’s not.”
Watch Clarke describe the government as “hopelessly split” on Brexit:
— Bloomberg Brexit (@Brexit) July 21,2017
The backbencher delivered an impassioned defence of the European Union in a speech to the Commons in January.
“What I would point out to those who say that somehow I am being disloyal to my party by not voting in favour of this bill, I am merely propounding the official policy of the Conservative party for 50 years until 23 June 2016,” he told MPs. “I admire my colleagues who can suddenly become enthusiastic Brexiteers, having seen a light on the road to Damascus … I am afraid that light has been denied me.”