A former cabinet minister has warned Theresa May she is allowing others to set the terms of Brexit and said the Prime Minister must be clearer on what she wants from any deal.
Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said that instead of leaving it to cabinet Brexiteers, Ms May should herself lead policy on the European Union and set out a broad plan as early as next week.
It comes as former Chancellor Ken Clarke claimed that “nobody in the Government has the first idea” what to do about Brexit.
Ms Morgan said: “There is a danger. At the moment, there has been a lack of a plan from our Government about the negotiating, the process, what’s going to happen, what we’re going to ask for.
“The longer that gap is left, the more likely it is that, as we are beginning to see, people are taking up positions, whether it’s a hard Brexit, a soft Brexit ... there is a danger that we will start finding ourselves, the Government will find itself, in a position where other people are setting the terms of the debate.”
She said cabinet ministers such as Liam Fox, David Davis and Boris Johnson had signalled that freedom of movement should be abolished, but she warned this could damage the NHS and other services reliant on foreign workers.
What experts have said about Brexit
What experts have said about Brexit
1/11 Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond
The Chancellor claims London can still be a world financial hub despite Brexit “One of Britain’s great strengths is the ability to offer and aggregate all of the services the global financial services industry needs” “This has not changed as a result of the EU referendum and I will do everything I can to ensure the City of London retains its position as the world’s leading international financial centre.”
2/11 Yanis Varoufakis
Greece's former finance minister compared the UK relations with the EU bloc with a well-known song by the Eagles: “You can check out any time you like, as the Hotel California song says, but you can't really leave. The proof is Theresa May has not even dared to trigger Article 50. It's like Harrison Ford going into Indiana Jones' castle and the path behind him fragmenting. You can get in, but getting out is not at all clear”
3/11 Michael O’Leary
Ryanair boss says UK will be ‘screwed’ by EU in Brexit trade deals: “I have no faith in the politicians in London going on about how ‘the world will want to trade with us’. The world will want to screw you – that's what happens in trade talks,” he said. “They have no interest in giving the UK a deal on trade”
4/11 Tim Martin
JD Wetherspoon's chairman has said claims that the UK would see serious economic consequences from a Brexit vote were "lurid" and wrong: “We were told it would be Armageddon from the OECD, from the IMF, David Cameron, the chancellor and President Obama who were predicting locusts in the fields and tidal waves in the North Sea"
5/11 Mark Carney
Governor of Bank of England is 'serene' about Bank of England's Brexit stance: “I am absolutely serene about the … judgments made both by the MPC and the FPC”
6/11 Christine Lagarde
IMF chief urges quick Brexit to reduce economic uncertainty: “We want to see clarity sooner rather than later because we think that a lack of clarity feeds uncertainty, which itself undermines investment appetites and decision making”
7/11 Inga Beale
Lloyd’s chief executive says Brexit is a major issue: "Clearly the UK's referendum on its EU membership is a major issue for us to deal with and we are now focusing our attention on having in place the plans that will ensure Lloyd's continues trading across Europe”
8/11 Colm Kelleher
President of US bank Morgan Stanley says City of London ‘will suffer’ as result of the EU referendum: “I do believe, and I said prior to the referendum, that the City of London will suffer as result of Brexit. The issue is how much”
9/11 Richard Branson
Virgin founder believes we've lost a THIRD of our value because of Brexit and cancelled a deal worth 3,000 jobs: We're not any worse than anybody else, but I suspect we've lost a third of our value which is dreadful for people in the workplace.' He continued: "We were about to do a very big deal, we cancelled that deal, that would have involved 3,000 jobs, and that’s happening all over the country"
10/11 Barack Obama
US President believes Britain was wrong to vote to leave the EU: "It is absolutely true that I believed pre-Brexit vote and continue to believe post-Brexit vote that the world benefited enormously from the United Kingdom's participation in the EU. We are fully supportive of a process that is as little disruptive as possible so that people around the world can continue to benefit from economic growth"
11/11 Kristin Forbes
American economist and an external member of the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England argues that the economy had been “less stormy than many expected” following the shock referendum result: “For now…the economy is experiencing some chop, but no tsunami. The adverse winds could quickly pick up – and merit a stronger policy response. But recently they have shifted to a more favourable direction”
Speaking to the BBC, Ms Morgan said: “The Prime Minister has to be the one leading this. I don’t think that's something she wanted to see.”
She went on: “There does need to be a clear plan from the top of Government about what it is that we are looking for ... certainly in the next couple of months. There’s obviously an opportunity – the Prime Minister will be giving a speech at the party conference next week.
“I wouldn’t say all the details, but a broad outline. The principles, if you like, that are important to the Prime Minister, to the Government, that balance between freedom of movement, having people come here to work, to contirubte, to pay taxes, and access to the single market."
In an interview with the New Statesman, Mr Clarke also launched an attack on Ms May’s handling of the Brexit issue.
He said: “Nobody in the Government has the first idea of what they're going to do next on the Brexit front.”
Slamming what he regarded as a lack of ideas coming from Dr Fox, Mr Johnson and Mr Davis, whom he called the “three Brexiteers”, he added: “Serious uncertainty in your trading and political relationships with the rest of the world is dangerous if you allow it to persist.
“Whatever is negotiated will be denounced by the ultra-Eurosceptics as a betrayal. Theresa May has had the misfortune of taking over at the most impossible time. She faces an appalling problem of trying to get these ‘three Brexiteers’ to agree.”
Meanwhile, Dr Fox told The Spectator the Government was taking a “methodical” and inclusive approach, adding: “It’s not a question of everyone having a say. It’s everyone being in the debate.”Reuse content