Tory leadership hopeful Andrea Leadsom reveals plan for 'managed' no-deal Brexit
Tory leadership contender Andrea Leadsom today revealed she would ditch any Brexit deal if she won the top job and quit the EU under a “managed exit” plan.
The proposals, which she insisted differed to a no-deal Brexit, would include asking member states to grant UK citizens living on the continent the right to stay.
It means she will be vying with fellow leadership hopeful Esther McVey to be the candidate most in favour of a no-deal departure from the bloc.
Meanwhile, other candidates Matt Hancock and Sajid Javid have been laying out their plans on Brexit.
Ms Leadsom told the Andrew Marr show today that “the Withdrawal Agreement is dead, that we can’t reopen the Withdrawal Agreement bill and the UK parliament won’t vote for it”.
She said she would pass legislation to prepare for a no-deal departure but also secure side-deals with the EU to ensure goods keep moving - a prospect the EU has explicitly ruled out.
“What I’m suggesting is making an offer to the EU for things that were already agreed in the Withdrawal Agreement, that will enable us to leave with a managed exit,” she said.
She added: “At the end of the day, European politicians face the ballot box as do all of us politicians. It is in all of our interests first to move on. They don’t want us hanging around for the next couple of years.”
Elsewhere, Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who is also fighting for the Tory crown, wrote to colleagues saying he would renegotiate the Brexit deal and seek a time limit to the backstop plan to keep the Irish border open.
Mr Hancock said a no-deal Brexit was “not an available choice” and laid out a plan that would include a free trade agreement with the bloc and setting up an Irish Border Council to manage the frontier.
Home Secretary Mr Javid, another contender, also said he would renegotiate the Brexit deal Theresa May struck with Brussels when he appeared on the Andrew Marr show.
He said he would prepare for no-deal, but refused to rule out asking for a Brexit extension to the current deadline of 31 October under any circumstances.
It was reported in the Sunday Telegraph that PM hopeful Michael Gove is prepared to back a Brexit delay of another year in order to renegotiate the deal.
Another challenger, Kit Malthouse, told Sky News he could envisage a "short techincal extension if we needed it, if a principle had been agreed [and was] worth the wait for an agreement that was in place".
Meanwhile, Justice Secretary David Gauke threw his weight behind International Development Secretary Rory Stewart for the leadership, while Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss backed Boris Johnson.
Leading member of the Conservative's One Nation group Nicky Morgan also announced she is backing Michael Gove in the race.
And former Universities Minister Sam Gyimah, who quit the government to back a second EU referendum, threw his hat into the ring.