Lord Heseltine: "Brexit Is The Cancer Gnawing At The Heart Of The Conservative Party"

11 June 2017, 11:49 | Updated: 11 June 2017, 15:33

The former Tory Deputy Prime Minister has some pretty strong views about how the Conservative party has handled Brexit.

Lord Michael Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister said Brexit has been responsible for the drop in support for the Conservative party -  and added what he thinks the party should do next.

He told Andrew Pierce: "We have to look at the reality. The Europeans can work out the new configurations themselves. Who are they negotiating with? 

"What is parliament going to do with the ultimate Brexit negotiations, who is going to be in charge? There are no answers to these questions. So, we've entered a sort of sham of a negotiation, which will just add to the uncertainty. 

"There is no majority in parliament for the sort of hard Brexit that some members of my party want, there's no majority for it. There's probably not a majority for it in the Conservative party in the House of Commons, let alone in the House of Commons itself.

"We're in a very dangerous position where Jeremy Corbyn needs a handful of seats to get to number 10 Downing Street. So, what I think the Prime Minister should now have as a priority, is giving the Tory party space to think who is going to be the successor, and more importantly, what policies the party is going to put forward at the inevitable general election, long before the fiver year period erodes." 

Andrew asked: "Can they do that while at the same time negotiating very complicated Brexit negotiations?"

He added: "No, not really. Because the more that they expose the reality of Brexit to the British public, the worse the government's reputation will become. 

"See, there's not the slightest, of Britain getting a better deal out of Europe. All the stuff we've heard about new opportunities, a world to win in, and all that, it's all for the birds. 

"We are systematically, of our own volition, undermining our single largest marketplace. You cannot do that without paying a price. The Europeans know that they cannot afford to let us have a deal, which becomes an exemplar for other nations who say, 'if the Brits can do it, we can do it'. 

"'We can be outside Europe and get all the benefits, so why don't we just follow the Brits' example?'. They cannot allow that to happen. What the Conservative party has to understand, unpalatable though it is, is that Brexit is now the cancer gnawing at the heart of the Conservative party."