MPs trying to block no-deal Brexit ‘think they know better’ than voters, claims Andrea Leadsom

Posted On: 
19th January 2019

MPs who want to stop Britain leaving the European Union without a deal "think they know better" than voters, a top Cabinet minister has claimed.

Ms Leadsom accused those attempting to block a no deal of “conveniently ignoring” the Brexit vote
Credit: 
PA

Andrea Leadsom accused those attempting to block a no-deal scenario of “conveniently ignoring” the legislation passed by Parliament which means the UK will default to leaving the EU in March if no alternative plan is backed.

The Commons Leader told The Telegraph: “The will of the people is not something that should be redefined by parliamentarians who think they know better and want to pursue their own agenda. Anyone who wants to cheer the optimistic future we have ahead of us is worthy of our support, not our derision.”

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Her comments come after several ministers including Work and Pensions Secretary Amber Rudd, Justice Secretary David Gauke and Business Secretary Greg Clark have publicly called for a no-deal Brexit to be stopped.

Yesterday, Amber Rudd shared a warning on Twitter from the Confederation of British Industry who called a no deal “unmanageable”, adding that it was “worth remembering”.

Earlier this week, the Chancellor Philip Hammond said in a leaked phone call to senior business leaders that a no-deal Brexit could be taken “off the table” within days.

Meanwhile, supporters of two factions determined to stop a no-deal Brexit – led by MPs Nick Boles and Dominic Grieve – held talks at Westminster on Thursday to discuss the issue.

But Ms Leadsom said attempting to block a no-deal Brexit would "fail our country".

She told The Telegraph: “Parliamentarians are the servants of the people - and the people gave us a very direct answer to a direct question. We must leave the EU.

“No Deal is not the desired outcome, but it would be incompetent for any responsible government to rule it out, and there are very good reasons for that.

“If we rule out no deal, we can forget about the EU taking us seriously. We weaken our negotiating hand.”

The Cabinet minister's intervention came as Defence Minister Tobias Ellwoood told the Times that Mrs May should delay Brexit rather than opting for a no-deal if an agreement cannot be struck before March 29.

Mr Elwood told the paper that without a deal would "be an act of self harm with profound economic, security and reputational, consequences for the UK at the very time threats are increasing and diversifying".

Theresa May has refused to rule out a no-deal Brexit, despite reports that several cabinet ministers are threatening to quit should this become inevitable.