Brexit: Tony Blair's former advisor blasts Theresa May and David Davis for 'keystone cops' tactics

John McTernan believes the Government hasn't got a clue on key issues

John McTernan hammered the Government on Sam Delaney's show

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Tony Blair's former advisor has savaged the Government for its handling of the Brexit negotiations, saying Theresa May and her inner circle are guilty of a "keystone cops" approach.

Jean-Claude Juncker has been widely condemned for his criticism of the UK, but John McTernan suggested Juncker and his fellow EU leaders are absolutely right - and they hold all the cards in the latest negotiatoins.

"The EU know exactly how strong their position is," McTernan, who served as Blair's director of political operations from 2005 to 2007, told Sam Delaney. 

"They've spent months agreeing it and they're united, [no matter how much] British politicians try and chip away at that. They also know how weak our position is."

McTernan continued his withering assault by saying May's government lost its negotiating mandate at the recent election, and senior figures like Boris Johnson and David Davis have no idea what to do on key issues such as the future rights of EU citizens.

"Imagine how incompetent you must be to be saying to the European Union, on the one hand [that] you're going to sort out the situation for citizens of the European Union, on the other hand you're sending 100 of them threatening letters saying you're going to deport them," McTernan said. "And your solution to that is to lie and say that it's an administrative error."

Referencing the slapstick silent films about incompetent policemen made 100 years ago, McTernan said "it's keystone cops basically, although that's really unfair on the keystone cops."

He also welcomed Labour's change in thinking, saying "when you're facing a cliff edge, you should not drive over it."

Labour, he said, are putting increasing pressure on Theresa May and "exposing the government for not thinking through this. God on Jeremy Corbyn for accepting Keir Starmer's advice."

Listen to the full interview above