LONDON — Conservative MP Anna Soubry, who campaigned vocally for Britain to remain within the EU, says she would consider joining a new “moderate, sensible, forward-thinking” political party.
Soubry, who was a business minister until last year, has been a fierce opponent of the way her own Conservative party has handled Brexit since the June referendum.
She told the New Statesman: “If [a new party] could somehow be the voice of a moderate, sensible, forward-thinking, visionary middle way, with open minds — actually things which I’ve believed in all my life — better get on with it.”
Brexit minister David Davis yesterday reaffirmed the government’s intention to take Britain out of the EU single market as part of a “hard” Brexit, a move that has been fiercely opposed by many Labour MPs and moderate Tory MPs such as Soubry.
In an interview with Business Insider last year, she described the idea that Britain could leave the single market and arrange a better trade deal as “stuff of the fairies.”
“I am beginning to wonder whether some of the people in charge of Leave actually understand the value of the single market,” she said in October.
“The idea that we will leave the EU and then negotiate some excellent free trade deal with the rest of Europe and not take the free movement of labour is the stuff of the fairies.”
Soubry’s call for a new party was carried in an edition of the New Statesman — the UK’s most prominent left-wing periodical — which rallied against the leadership of Labour under Jeremy Corbyn, suggesting it had failed to provide any effective opposition to the Conservatives’ attempts to pursue a “hard” Brexit.
Tony Blair, who was Labour prime minister between 1997 and 2007, has also voiced support for a new centrist party. He said at the beginning of March that there was a case for “building a new coalition out from the centre.”
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