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  1. ITV Report

Failures of Parliament and Government 'the worst' of last '200 or 300 years', ex-Tory leader William Hague says

William Hague said the current political situation has not been matched 'in modern times'. Credit: ITV/Peston

Not in the last "two or three hundred years... has there been such a failure of the political system" as we are currently experiencing, former Tory party leader William Hague has said.

"The endless debate and amendments" have not been matched in "the political system in modern times", Lord Hague told ITV's Peston programme.

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The ex-MP also told ITV News' Political Editor that the chances of a general election are looking more and more likely, the longer Brexit is delayed.

“I think the chances of an election are rising strongly," Lord Hague told Robert Peston.

"Ultimately the Government can be pushed, particularly during a delay, into reconciling itself to a no-deal Brexit or to a longer and longer delay, and that either of those options are likely to bring about the collapse of the Cabinet, of the Conservative Government, even of Conservative members voting against their Government on a motion of no confidence, so you can quite easily, more easily than people think, get to a general election," he added.

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Continuing on the issue of Brexit, Lord Hague said that at the current stage in negotiations, the only choices are between Mrs May's deal, no-deal, or extending Article 50.

The 57-year-old added that now is "the time... for people to stop thinking they can get" a variant on Theresa May's Brexit deal.

"When you come to the end of a process like this, two years of negotiation, [there is] only going to be one deal on the table," he added.

"It was never going to come down to a choice where you can have this variant of the deal, or that variant.

"It’s time now for people to stop thinking they can get that.”

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Also on Peston was shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry who accused Mrs May of "speaking above the heads of MPs" and appealing directly to the public in a bid to get them to "bully" politicians into backing her Brexit deal.

Ms Thornberry branded the Prime Minister a "Trump wannabe" who is "stamping her kitten heels" over MPs' lack of willingness to back her Brexit deal.

The Labour MP continued that Mrs May is "putting the country in jeopardy" by refusing to compromise over her deal and is now "behaving recklessly".

Ms Thornberry said Mrs May should have asked Parliament what they wanted in terms of a Brexit deal two years ago, rather than waiting until days before the March 29 deadline and telling them "it's all my deal or no-deal", and refusing to "listen and look at alternatives".

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She added that Labour will whip its MPs to vote against Mrs May's deal should it come back to the Commons for a third vote since they believe it will "jeopardise jobs and the economy", and that the prospect of a second referendum was "not dead".

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