Lord Heseltine makes jibe at Theresa May over Brexit

Posted On: 
17th March 2017

Lord Heseltine has condemned Theresa May for now backing Brexit - and said there was no need for her to sack him for his pro-EU views.

Tory peer Lord Heseltine Tory peer Lord Heseltine
PA Images

The former Deputy Prime Minister was relieved of his five government advisory posts after rebelling against the Article 50 bill by backing moves to give Parliament a “meaningful” vote on the final terms of Brexit.

In a letter to Mrs May, the Tory peer said he did not agree with her decision to fire him given that David Cameron allowed Cabinet ministers to campaign freely during the referendum campaign.

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“You say in your letter that I will understand the necessity to end that relationship. Here we disagree,” he wrote.

"In the referendum campaign it was recognised that so deeply held and so divided were the views on both sides that members of the cabinet and other ministers were free to argue and vote against the government's European policy without sanction."

While he thanked her for her “kind remarks” in her own letter to him, Lord Heseltine said that unlike Mrs May, he had not changed his mind over Brexit.

"I have repeatedly said you have every right to end my relationship with the government,” he said.

"The simple fact remains that you have changed your mind since the excellent speech you made in the referendum campaign arguing that we should remain in the European Union. I have not."

Lord Heseltine was one of 13 Tory peers to rebel against the Government on the Article 50 bill.

He subsequently learnt that he had been fired from his five official roles – advisory posts working alongside the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy on issues from estate regeneration to a city deal for Swansea.

Last week he claimed that he has never met Mrs May in person – but Downing Street later insisted that the Prime Minister has met him before.