Ex-Defence Secretary Brands May’s Brexit Talks with Corbyn ‘Naive’, ‘Doomed’

Brexit
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
JOE MARKHAM

Former Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has described Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit talks with Labour as a “politically naive” and “doomed to fail”.

Mr Williamson, who was recently sacked from Cabinet over an alleged leak from the National Security Council — which he denies he was responsible for — wrote in the Mail on Sunday that he believed the talks would not succeed as Labour only really want a general election to try and get into power.

“Even if Labour do a deal, break bread with the Prime Minister and announce that both parties have reached an agreement, it can only ever end in tears,” he said, warning that “the Labour Party does not exist to help the Conservative Party”.

“Jeremy Corbyn will do all he can to divide, disrupt and frustrate the Conservatives in the hope of bringing down the Government,” he added.

“His goal, and he has made no secret of it, is to bring about a general election.”

 

A Downing Street source remarked, somewhat snidely, that Mr Williamson had been “supportive of the process while he was in the Cabinet”, adding that he had “not been involved in the talks himself”.

But Williamson’s comments come as there is broad dissatisfaction within the Conservative Party with Mrs May meeting with Labour to negotiate a Brexit deal.

Former Foreign Secretary and leading Brexiteer Boris Johnson previously argued Corbyn should be nowhere near a position of power and certainly not engaged in Brexit talks.

“It seems utterly incredible that [Corbyn] has now been invited into Downing Street to negotiate a Brexit deal… [and] to get Corbyn onside, the Government is apparently willing to abandon the cardinal principle and central logic of Brexit,” he said.

Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party (DUP), which provides Mrs May’s minority government with its precarious majority in the House of Commons, has also taken issue with her “sub-contracting” Brexit to a “known Marxist” regarded as an Irish Republican Army (IRA) sympathiser.

One of the major sticking points in negotiations between Labour and the Conservatives is the idea of a customs union with the European Union, which Labour backs — but would leave Brussels in control of British trade policy, essentially ruling out new trade deals with countries like Australia and the United States.

Reports this week show that a number of Conservatives plan to bring down Theresa May if she agrees to the Brexit deal as put forward by Jeremy Corbyn.

One senior minister was quoted as saying, “People are waiting to see what this deal is, if it happens. That will be the decision point for a lot of MPs when it comes to deciding the Prime Minister’s future.”

The disillusionment in the party comes as new polls are released which show that the Conservatives have fallen into fourth place in European Parliament election voting intentions behind the Brexit Party, Labour, and even the Liberal Democrats.

Perhaps even more worryingly, they have also fallen into third place behind Labour and the Brexit Party in Westminster election polling.

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