EXCL Former minister calls on Government to spend billions to repair the 'damage' of Brexit
The Government should invest billions of pounds on repairing the “damage” done by Brexit once the negotiations move to the next phase, a former government minister has said.
In an interview with The House magazine, Lord Bates said the cash should be spent healing divisions which have developed between the UK and other countries, as well as within British communities, since the 2016 referendum.
The Tory peer, who quit his job as a minister in the Department for International Development last month over his frustrations at the Brexit process, said the Government should carry out work on the same scale as Whitehall’s no deal preparations.
“My feeling at the moment is that what we need to do is to somehow settle this as soon as possible and move on, and then do a huge effort to try and repair some of the damage that has been done as a result,” he told The House.
“By that, I mean something on the scale of what we were doing to plan for no deal – budgets of £3bn, all departments involved, everybody thinking, reaching out to industry – everything. Mobilise.
“We need something on that scale to heal the damage on the community level within the UK, but more importantly with our friends in the Republic of Ireland, Holland, France, Germany – there’s a lot of damage being done there, and we need to do that.”
Writing for PoliticsHome, Lord Bates revealed he quit as a minister last month over the “aggressiveness, intolerance and incivility” that has featured heavily in the debate to leave the European Union.
Speaking to The House, the Tory peer and former MP said he finds conflict “difficult to deal with”. Lord Bates, who is also a member of the Lords Treasury team, said he had grown weary of having “lines to take” as a frontbencher in which he would refer to honouring the decision of 17.4 million people.
“You can’t just say we must deliver something for one part any more than a government might campaign to be elected for their party but really it should govern for the whole of the country,” he said.
“We need to seek solutions which are on common ground. We need to find some common ground going forward.”