- Reuters/Hannah McKay
LONDON – Theresa May should take a more “liberal approach on migration” a former Conservative leader has said, as he warned her not to “shoot your foot off” with a hard Brexit.
Lord William Hague said there was a “way through” for Brexit and there was “sufficient common ground” among the different political parties to get a good deal for the UK after leaving the EU.
In an interview on BBC Radio 4’s Reflections with Peter Hennessy, the former foreign secretary said that the UK should take powers back after Brexit, but use them in a “very constructive way” in order to enter a “very robust free trade agreement.”
He said: “You can take back control of a gun but it doesn’t mean you use it to shoot your foot off.”
Lord Hague said that Brexit was “the most complex task of any government since the Second World War.”
“It has to be delivered now, Brexit. There is a way through actually because there is just sufficient space or common ground among the positions of the various political parties, the factions within parties, the business world and that can be negotiated with the EU.
“To me, that means taking powers back, the sovereign powers back to the UK, leaving the EU, leaving the single market, but then using those in a very constructive way.
“Which means continuing to have quite a liberal approach on migration, which is essential to our economy in the short-term anyway, so we take back control but we use that to enter a strong free trade agreement,” Lord Hague said.
He added: “Let’s take back control but enter willingly as a sovereign nation into a very robust free trade agreement and with the right attitude on migration I think it’s possible to reach the right solution on trade.”
The former Tory leader backed the Remain side during the EU referendum and said at the beginning of August that a stable transitional deal was the best way to avoid a chaotic Brexit.
Hague said there was “clear potential for Brexit to become the occasion of the greatest economic, diplomatic and constitutional muddle in the modern history of the UK, with unknowable consequences for the country, the government and the Brexit project itself.”