Cross-party Brexit negotiations remain delicate says Lidington

15 April, 2019, 10:52 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Farage donned patriotic socks for the launch event held in a pro Brexit English city

Britain's ruling Conservative Party can not let itself be defined exclusively by Brexit, Prime Minister Theresa May's de facto deputy said on Sunday, as polling showed failure to leave the European Union on schedule has badly damaged its support.

"What we have agreed is a programme of meetings next week on particular subjects with the ministers and shadow ministers concerned getting together", he told the BBC.

If the cross-party talks do not end in an agreement, then Mr Lidington said the Government would "put before Parliament a set of options" which it would "actually having to come to a preferred option" on "rather than voting against everything".

The two sides will take stock of where the talks are when the House of Commons returns from its Easter recess.

"I think that what the PM has to do is aim everything now towards departure before the Euros [elections] which would then allow her to step away having done what she said she would do, getting the United Kingdom out of the European Union one way or the other and then we can have another leadership election and pick a new leader, which is the way it has to be".

He said that the question can not be allowed drag out for too long and they will not go on for months.

He said it is possible to get the benefits of the customs but still have the flexibility for the United Kingdom to pursue an independent trade policy with other countries.

Mr Lidington said the British government is still against a second referendum.


"If we are going to reach an agreement there is going to have to be movement on both sides".

"The government's position has not changed".

"What are you going to say on the doorstep - 'vote for me and I'll be gone in three months?'"

"If Labour does not re-confirm its support for a confirmatory public vote on any Brexit deal in its manifesto then it will haemorrhage votes to parties who do have a clear message", he said.

"I am not sure we are easily going to get a breakthrough because it is important to understand that a customs union is a hard Brexit", he said.

He added: "I am a little bit anxious that the European Union in future will be determining trade deals and we won't really have a say".

Farage, a current Member of the European Parliament and former leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), was one of the leading lights of the campaign for the UK to leave the European Union before the divisive referendum.

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