Sat, 18 May 2024

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By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
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Lord Heseltine urges lifelong Tories to vote Lib Dem in order to stop Brexit

2 min read

Lord Heseltine has urged lifelong Conservative supporters vote for the Liberal Democrats at the general election in a bid to stop Brexit.

The former Conservative deputy Prime Minister - a vocal supporter of a second EU referendum - told voters to "put country first" by giving their backing to pro-Remain candidates in a bid to scupper Boris Johnson's hopes of winning a Commons majority.

Speaking alongside sacked Tories Dominic Grieve, David Gauke and Anne Milton - who are all standing as independents on 12 December - the veteran politician said it was a "delusion" that the Prime Minister could get Brexit done by the end of January.

And asked what advice he had for lifelong Conservative voters, he said: "I'm telling them to vote for what they believe and what the Conservative Party has stood for all my life and certainly all of theirs - and to put country first.

"And what I think that means in practical terms is they either vote for the defrocked Conservative candidates, of which we have three excellent examples here, or they vote Lib Dem."

His comments come after he had the Conservative whip suspended earlier this year after announcing he planned to "lend" his vote to the Lib Dems in the European Parliament elections.

In a scathing attack on the party, Lord Heseltine, who served under Margaret Thatcher and John Major, claimed Boris Johnson's plans to turn the UK into a Singapore-style tax haven after Brexit would be "wildy unpopular".

"Of course there is the great saviour - the ultimate justification - President Trump is on our side," he said.

"And this most benign of American presidents, whose heart is there across the world to the underprivileged, fighting for his political life in an election period, will break the habit of a lifetime and be generous to somebody else.

"If you believe that, you will believe... Brexit."

He added: "There is to the more cynical of us another explanation.

"That they actually know what they want to do would be wildly unpopular in this country because it affects the way we live and work, the way our companies operate.

"The health and safety, the environmental standards that patiently we have ourselves in Britain helped to create over the last 40 years.

"And the moment they start dismantling, creating a sort of Singapore this side of the Channel, then the reaction across the Conservative Party will be indelible and irradicable." 

Meanwhile, the 86-year-old peer dismissed suggestions his support for opposition candidates could help usher Jeremy Corbyn into Downing Street, saying the Labour manifesto was "insane".

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