Ex-minister warns May against Brexit betrayal

Former Brexit Minister warns against any watering down Credit: PA

The Prime Minister should not soften her negotiating stance with the European Union, according to the Welsh MP she sacked as Brexit minister last week.

Writing in the Sunday Times the day before talks begin with the EU, David Jones says Theresa May should resist 'siren calls from proponents of “soft Brexit” for continued UK membership of the single market and customs union.'

The Clwyd West MP warns that any such deal would be a 'betrayal of trust' and risk 'a whirlwind of public anger.'

In the article, Mr Jones dismisses 'agonised' debate over what sort of arrangements the UK Government should aim for in the talks, saying that the British people have now voted twice to back Brexit:

If there remained any doubt as to the wish of the British people to leave the EU, it was dispelled by the outcome of this month’s general election. The manifestos of both major parties were committed to leaving.

David Jones MP

The former Welsh Secretary was brought back into government by Theresa May after she became leader last June. He's been deputy to the Brexit Secretary David Davis and involved in preparation for the negotiations.

In the political turmoil following last week's inconclusive General Election, there have been reports that senior ministers including the Chancellor Phillip Hammond are pressing for a new approach to leaving the EU. It's suggested that they want an arrangement that allows Britain continued access to the European Single market or customs union.

In his Sunday Times article, David Jones, warns against that approach.

There are siren calls from proponents of “soft Brexit” for continued UK membership of the single market and customs union. They should not be heeded. That would, in reality, be a non-Brexit. Parliament has a duty to the people of this country to respect the clear instructions they have given. Pursuing anything less than the restoration of parliamentary sovereignty, the control of our borders and the capacity to strike trade deals with countries across the globe would rightly be seen as a betrayal of trust. It would destroy confidence in our political system. All parties would reap the whirlwind of public anger.

David Jones MP

Mr Jones' warning drew an immediate critical response from Labour's former Shadow Welsh Secretary, Jo Stevens. The Cardiff Central MP tweeted: