Kenneth Clarke put the boot into Boris Johnson in the first House of Commons debate since fierce cabinet divisions have left the PM having to admonish Johnson for undermining her leadership on Brexit.
Clarke recently insisted that Boris Johnson would have been sacked by now if the Tories had a majority instead of a minority government propped up by the DUP. Today he called Johnson “the present Foreign Secretary” as he again, and mocked Johnson for the mess he had made.
“Will the Prime Minister reassure me that it is not the government’s policy on the one hand to seek to remove all trade barriers with countries like Japan and the United states. – While on the other hand to seek to create new regulatory customs and tariff barriers with the European Union – with which at the moment we have free trade and which is our largest trading partner in the world?” asked the Tory grandee.
Clarke added: “As she recalls the ultra Brexiteers including the present Foreign Secretary assured citizens during the Referendum campaign that no difference at all would take place in our trading relationships with Europe because they needed to sell us their Mercedes and their Prosecco.” As the Foreign Secretary glared at the veteran Conservative MP, Clarke added: “would it not be best to proceed with negotiations on the basis that our ideal solution would be to stay in the single market?”
— Haggis_UK 🇬🇧 🇪🇺 (@Haggis_UK) October 9, 2017
In the first debate on Brexit for a while, Theresa May was on the defensive as Labour MPs seized on the Conservatives’ shambolic divisions over this crucial moment in Britain’s history.
Labour MP Catherine West asked the PM to come clean on the cost to Britain of leaving the EU with a deal and the amount it will cost if she fails to negotiate one.
Theresa May was left having to admit that there might not be a deal until the last minute. “We will not have negotiated that deal until, I suspect, close to the end of that period that’s been set aside for it,” replied the PM. “At that point, we will be able to see what the benefits of that deal will be for the British economy.”
Earlier, in Brussels, Margaritis Schinas, the European Commission’s chief spokesman had explained how far away that stage is.
“There has been, so far, no solution found on step one, which is the divorce proceedings,” said Schinas.
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn warned of the perilous consequences to people’s rights and livelihoods if the Tory party did not get the complex negotiations and mountain of legislation right.
Pointing out that Theresa May had been Prime Minister for 15 months now, Corbyn asked, ‘what on earth has the government been doing all this time?”