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Meanwhile ahead of the CON conference Ken Clarke goes on the attack over BREXIT

September 29th, 2016

The longstanding pro-European isn’t happy

Next in line this conference season are the Conservatives who are in their traditional final place slot. Inevitably BREXIT, what it actually means and the timetable, will dominate and you can expect all sides to be vocal.

Kicking off is the former CON leadership contender and Chancellor, the veteran Ken Clarke. In an interview in the New Statesman he has some strong and harsh things to say about BREXIT and some of his colleagues. The magazine reports him saying:-

“Whatever is negotiated will be denounced by the ultra-Eurosceptics as a betrayal,” he says. “Theresa May has had the misfortune of taking over at the most impossible time. She faces an appalling problem of trying to get these ‘Three Brexiteers’ [Boris Johnson, David Davis and Liam Fox] to agree with each other, and putting together a coherent policy which a united cabinet can present to a waiting Parliament and public. Because nobody has the foggiest notion of what they want us to do.”

Clarke reserves his fiercest anger for these high-profile Brexiteers, lamenting: “People like Johnson and [Michael] Gove gave respectability to [Nigel] Farage’s arguments that immigration was somehow a great peril caused by the EU.”

During the referendum campaign, Clarke made headlines by describing Boris Johnson as “a nicer version of Donald Trump”, but today he seems more concerned about David Cameron. He has harsh words for his friend the former prime minister, calling the pledge to hold the referendum “a catastrophic decision”. “He will go down in history as the man who made the mistake of taking us out of the European Union, by mistake,” he says.”

Quite what influence Ken still has is hard to say but he’s important because he get media attention and he’s highly articulate.

Mike Smithson