Theresa May loyalist Michael Fallon savages her 'doomed' Brexit deal
Theresa May has suffered a fresh blow as a previously loyal Conservative ex-Cabinet minister hit out at her “doomed” Brexit deal.
Sir Michael Fallon - who resigned as defence secretary last year at the height of Westminster's harassment scandal - branded the agreement a “gamble” and confirmed he would vote against it when it is put before the Commons next month.
Speaking to the BBC’s Today programme, the former Remain campaigner said the deal was the “worst of both worlds”.
“No guarantee of smooth trade in the future and no ability to reduce the tariffs that we need to conclude trade deals with the rest of the world,” he said.
"So, unless the Commons can be persuaded somehow that those things are possible then yes, I think the deal is doomed."
He added: “I don’t think this gives us the certainty that we need and it’s therefore a gamble and I really worry now that we will have another two to three years where we try to negotiate to put these new trade arrangements in place, during which time investment will be held up and business will have all of the uncertainty that it hates.”
The ex-Cabinet minister meanwhile said it would be wrong for the UK to dismiss warnings from US President Donald Trump that Mrs May's deal could make a trade deal between the two countries more difficult deal after the end of the Brexit transition period in December 2020.
Sir Michael said: "It is no good us brushing that off and saying: ‘No no, we can do a deal with America’. He is the President of the United States, and if he says it is going to be difficult then it certainly looks like it is going to be difficult.
"To do those trade deals successfully we have got to be able to reduce the external tariff, that is a tariff on goods coming in to the United Kingdom and it is clear from the documents that the rest of the European union won’t necessarily allow that unless it gets its way on a whole host of other things. They have the levers."
Sir Michael joins scores of Conservative backbenchers who have vowed to vote against the deal next month – with both Remain and Leave backing MPs lining up to rubbish the proposal.
Mrs May will today head to Wales and Northern Ireland to meet business chiefs and political leaders as part of her plan to build wider support for the agreement.
She said: "Having been told by the EU that we would need to split the UK in two, we are leaving as one United Kingdom.
"My deal delivers for every corner of the UK and I will work hard to strengthen the bonds that unite us as we look ahead to our future outside of the EU."
But Sir Michael instead urged the Prime Minister to delay the UK’s exit date to allow negotiators another shot at striking a deal which would find support in Parliament.
He added: “This is not a good deal, and we need a better deal. And if it is possible to get a better deal, to send the negotiators back to Brussels for two or three months, even to postpone the actual leaving date for two or three months, I still think that would be in the long-term interests of the country.
“We have to get this right. Jobs, prosperity, our economy all depend on it.”