01:00PM, Friday 02 March 2018
Beaconsfield MP Dominic Grieve (Cons) has insisted that the idea a crisis had been reached in Brexit talks this week was an attempt by the media to put pressure on the government.
In a week marred by several conflicting reports made by civil servants and cabinet ministers the former attorney general was adamant that his stance on Brexit had not changed.
He confirmed that the national interest comes before his personal and party interests.
“I’ve always said that, Brexit is so important that if necessary I would do that [vote against his party].
“But it’s true that cabinet members need to exercise collective responsibility in a way that doesn't fall on me”, he added.
Grieve said he would continue to work with the government on the amendments he put forward and hoped the government's own amendments would be ‘satisfactory’ but conceded they were ‘taking a long time’.
Sir Martin Donnelly, former permanent secretary at the international trade department until year warned this week that life outside the EU single market would be like ‘swapping a three-course meal for a packet of crisps’.
”I think he’s right”, said Grieve.
“In the long term it is possible for the country to be better off but in the short to medium term it is going to be serious trouble and do nothing but damage to the economy.
“For me its always been about how we minimise that.”
He added that he thought that foreign secretary Boris Johnson’s comments on Tuesday morning that compared the Irish border issue to that of two London boroughs
‘showed a lack of understanding on how international borders work’.
And that Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn’s announcement for ‘a customs union’ that would seek exemptions in areas like public service competition directives and state aid rules as ‘full of fantasies, a cynical ploy to gain votes in parliament, wooly thinking and complete tosh’.
He added: “He has identified the need for tariff free trade with the EU but I could have told him that months ago.
“I think the whole debate is becoming extraordinarily debilitating.”
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