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Brexit was the 'biggest disaster in British policy making since the Second World War,' Lord Patten tells Andrew Marr

21 March 2024, 19:51 | Updated: 21 March 2024, 19:53

Brexit was the 'biggest disaster in British policy making since the Second World War,' Lord Patten tells Andrew Marr
Brexit was the 'biggest disaster in British policy making since the Second World War,' Lord Patten tells Andrew Marr. Picture: Alamy

By Danielle De Wolfe

Lord Patten has labelled Brexit the "biggest disaster in British policy making since the Second World War" during an exclusive interview with LBC.

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Speaking on Tonight with Andrew Marr, Lord Patten labelled Brexit "a bloody disaster" during a conversation focussing on the forthcoming general election.

“What nobody is allowed to say, is that Brexit was a bloody disaster," he explained of the Conservative Party's stance on the subject.

Pushed by Marr on the party that would gain his vote, the former Conservative Party Chairman explained: "I am in a very simple position: I couldn’t vote for a candidate that had been in favour of Brexit.”

Describing Brexit as "bilge”, Lord Patten explained: "You hear politicians - even ones I quite respect, talking about the difficulties in the economy because of the war in Ukraine and the effect on oil prices; the effects on the economy of Covid - neither of those issues, to use an awful social scientist word, we had ‘agency’ over.

"So you can perfectly say that that was bad luck for the government, but Brexit we did ourselves."

'I hope I'm right in saying that they've still got their marbles' says Lord Patten

Lord Patten also discussed the lasting impact of Brexit with Andrew Marr, labelling the party one that's continuing to become "more right-wing".

"I’m 79 and I don’t think there's a chance in hell of us rejoining the EU in my lifetime, unless I live to a sort of methuselah age," he admitted.

"But I do think there are better ways of us organising our relationship with our biggest market… we shouldn’t be put off by tabloid headlines or tabloid arguments by someone in the political extremes that we’re somehow destroying Britain's independence or withering the chances of Brexit Britain," he said.

Read more: Tory mayoral candidate defects to Reform UK in another major setback to Sunak

Read more: Bank of England holds interest rate at 16-year high of 5.25%, despite drop in inflation rate

The former Conservative Party Chairman also spoke on the current state of the Tory party.

"When asked about my experience as a party chairman and what the relevance is to things today, I make initially the very important point that I was Chairman of the Conservative Party when there was one," he told Andrew Marr.

"And I think what we've seen over the years is the conservative party becoming more right-wing.

"And when it becomes more right wing, it becomes more populist; It becomes more unpopular - and as it becomes more unpopular, it becomes more right wing," he explained.

Watch again: Tonight with Andrew Marr | 21/03/24

Lord Patten also expressed his views on the current Conservative party following Brexit.

"What the process does is lose [the Conservatives] something that I think won John Major the election in 1992, which is the most important attribute of the government, I think: the benefit of the doubt.

"You hear politicians - even ones I quite respect, talking about the difficulties in the economy because of the war in Ukraine and the effect on oil prices; the effects on the economy of Covid - neither of those issues.

"So you can perfectly say that that was bad luck for the government," he added.

"But Brexit, we did ourselves."

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