- Former Brexit Secretary says it would be better to stay in the EU than accept Theresa May’s Brexit deal.
- Dominic Raab tells the Today Programme that the planned EU withdrawal agreement would leave Britain with no say over customs and trade rules it would adhere to.
- His comments come as May struggles to secure support from her party for the deal.
- A Parliamentary vote on the withdrawal agreement is due at the start of December
LONDON – It would be better to scrap Brexit and stay in the European Union rather than accept Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the former Brexit Secretary has said.
Dominic Raab, who quit the government last week in protest over the terms of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement, told the Today programme on Friday morning that May’s deal would leave Britain tied to EU customs and trade rules without any democratic oversight over them.
“If you just presented me terms, this deal or EU membership, because we would effectively be bound by the same rules without control or a voice over them, then yes this would be even worse than that,” Raab said.
Raab joins a growing list of leading Conservative Brexiteers who have suggested in recent weeks and months that it would be better to remain in the EU rather than accept what the prime minister has agreed with Brussels.
The former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has said repeatedly that May’s Brexit proposals would be worse than retaining EU membership, as has ex-Conservative leader Iain Duncan Smith and former minister John Redwood.
Pro-European MPs immediately jumped on Raab’s comments.
“Even Dominic Raab, the guy who negotiated this half-baked deal admits it isn’t as good as the one we’ve already got – inside the EU,” Labour MP Anna Turley, who is a leading supporter of the People’s Vote campaign said.
“Every MP, from whichever side they stand on Brexit must now ask themselves the same question about a deal which is a million miles from what was promised. And, if they can’t look constituents in the eye and say it is better than staying in the EU, they must do what is right for the country: vote against this withdrawal agreement and hand the final decision back to the British public through a People’s Vote.”
The comments come as May struggles to secure support for the deal in Parliament.
On Thursday, she faced a barrage of criticism from across the House of Commons as she sought to defend the political declaration that will accompany the Withdrawal Agreement when it is signed up to by EU leaders this weekend.
Over 80 Conservative MPs have pledged to vote against the deal, as well as the Democratic Unionist Party which has been propping up May’s minority Conservative government. All other opposition parties are also opposed to the deal meaning it is almost certain to be voted down on its first appearance in the Commons.