Brexit: Michael Howard says Theresa May will have to consider her job if her plan fails

The former Conservative leader said the prime minister would have ‘difficult decisions’ about her position in Downing Street ahead

Joe Watts
Political Editor
Saturday 08 December 2018 11:36 GMT
Michael Howard says Theresa May has 'difficult decisions' to make about her position in Downing Street

Former Tory leader Michael Howard has said Theresa May will have to consider quitting if she loses the crunch vote on her Brexit plan on Tuesday.

Lord Howard said the prime minister would have “difficult decisions” about her position in Downing Street, with MPs apparently set on rejecting the deal.

He also said that the party should look to leave the EU in with a managed no-deal Brexit and try and organise a free trade deal from the outside.

Speaking to BBC Radio 4’s Today programme he said Ms May would have “difficult decisions to make about her future and about the future of our country” if she loses the “meaningful vote” on her Brexit deal on December 11.

Lord Howard said discussions with the European Union should be intensified to prepare for Brexit without a full withdrawal agreement.

“We should seek to put in place some ad hoc, temporary arrangements with the agreement of the European Union which would minimise and, indeed, perhaps even eliminate any disruption at the border on March 30 next year,” he said.

“We should also undertake that we would unilaterally, for the period of 12 months after 29 March, allow any goods and services in from the European Union without any tariffs or tariff barriers or obstacles in any way – hope that they will reciprocate but do it even if they don’t – and use that 12-month period to negotiate a free-trade agreement along the style of Canada-plus.”

It comes after pensions secretary Amber Rudd indicated she would support a Norway-style relationship with the EU, if the PM’s deal fails to pass through the Commons.

In a Times interview she also attacked Eurosceptics, backing a harder Brexit, saying: ”The people who want the hard Brexit think it is worth the pain in order to have something better further on and I think a lot of us — perhaps it is more a women’s thing, we think more about the monthly budget, minimising risk — are less seduced by the idea of breaking it all up to remake it more beautifully.”

She added: “I don’t like that sort of male cohort of buccaneering destruction that goes with it. It trips over into Nigel Farage and it feels to me slightly patriarchal.”

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