Heseltine on Brexit sacking: “too much” not to give parliament a final say

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

Conservative grandee Lord Heseltine, who was sacked as a government adviser on Tuesday after rebelling over Brexit in the House of Lords, said it was “too much for me” that parliament should not be given a say on the final deal.

The peer told the BBC Today programme:

Brexit now means negotiating our severance from Europe. That I have accepted. But the point comes in life, when you have to do what you believe to be right. And saying – somehow or rather – parliament couldn’t have enshrined in the statute a commitment to involve parliament, the sovereign body of our country, was too much for me.

He also said on Wednesday that he had never met Theresa May, but remarked on Sky TV that she had a “man-sized job to do”.

Heseltine was among 13 Conservative peers who backed a motion that the government bring the final terms of Britain’s exit from the EU before parliament for its approval, inflicting a second defeat on Theresa May’s Brexit strategy in the space of a week.

The Lords also defied the prime minister last week, voting by an overwhelming majority to back an amendment that would guarantee the rights of EU citizens living in the UK.

The peer held five advisory positions for the government. On Wednesday, he had been due to travel to Wales to help the Welsh secretary negotiate a city deal for Swansea.

He described Brexit as the “most disastrous peacetime result we’ve seen in this country,” but he insisted he had been “meticulous” in not talking to the press about his concerns despite being approached from media “from all over the world”.

“I just don’t think people really understand. Every European parliament is going to have to ratify any new deal. All the nation states of Europe, the 27 of them are all going to have to do it,” he said.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.