Ken Clarke: Anti-Brexit movement could grow like opposition to Iraq war

Posted On: 
4th February 2017

Ken Clarke has compared his opposition to Brexit to his stand against the 2003 invasion of Iraq. 

Ken Clarke speaking in the House of Commons
Credit: 
PA Images

If the Prime Minister fails to make a success of Brexit she will be regarded as a “disaster”, the Tory MP said in an interview with The Times.

“If [Mrs May] succeeds... she will start getting into the list of great prime ministers, and if she fails she will be blamed and be in the Tony Blair, David Cameron class of people who were a disaster,” he said.

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“I compare it to the Iraq war. That was the last time I stuck my neck out in supporting a really unpopular cause – 70% of the British public were in favour of the invasion and most of the Conservative party was in a patriotic fury.

“Within 12 months you couldn’t meet a member of the public who had ever known anybody who was in favour of it...[the public] won’t blame their fellow citizens for voting in the referendum [should Brexit go wrong], they will blame the government of the day.”

Mr Clarke, who was the only Tory MP to vote against the Government’s Brexit bill this week, claimed Mrs May had become “fixated” by limiting immigration from the EU.

“The bit that worries me is the anti-foreigner, anti-immigrant bit...The overwhelming majority of British people are not xenophobic or racist but there are more around than there used to be.”