Dominic Grieve MP: Extending Article 50 will give ‘breathing space to sort ourselves out’

Dominic Grieve MP: Extending Article 50 will give ‘breathing space to sort ourselves out’

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Conservative MP Dominic Grieve has said that extending Article 50 has to be “an option” to give the UK “breathing space”.

The MP for Beaconsfield told talkRADIO’s Katie Perrior: “Extending Article 50 may have to be an option. Whether the EU will allow us to do that, I don’t know - I am sure they would allow us to do it for a referendum, they might allow us to do it to have a General Election if that is where we end up.

“I am not sure they are going to allow us to do it for other purposes, but all that is capable of being explored.

“I think the closer we get to March 29, the greater the pressure will get piled up on the Prime Minister to respond on this.

“But, I suspect there is a majority in the House of Commons that thinks extending Article 50 is important because it can give us a breathing space to sort ourselves out.”

He added: “My view is no deal is very dangerous for our country.”


'Transparent plot'

Anti-Brexit protesters on College Green, outside the Houses of Parliament in London. 

Mr Grieve defended himself after the International Trade Secretary Liam Fox accused MPs such as him of "plotting" to trying to “steal” Brexit from the people.

The former Attorney General is tabling an amendment to suspend the Article 50 withdrawal process.

“The difficulty we are having is that the Prime Minister seems dead-set against talking to anybody about anything very much except the absolute necessity to support her deal,” Mr Grieve said.

“In so far as there being a move or a plot, it is a pretty transparent plot.

“There are MPs working together to see whether we can improve the capacity of the House of Commons to control its own order paper – to enable us to debate things even if the government may not wish us too - where we could express a collective view about what we think is the best way forward and what the government could be doing next.”


'Terrible mess' 

The Conservative MP admitted that the Conservative Party will “punished at the polls” because of its handling of Brexit.

“I think we will probably be punished at the polls whatever the outcome of all this is. It is a terrible mess,” he said.

“People are rightly impatient, irritated and angry – particularly those who vote Leave in 2016 – ‘you said we could leave so why can’t you sort it out?’ The answer is we can’t sort it out because finding a way of leaving that is acceptable to Parliament or not uniquely damaging to the country is proving impossible.

“That is the reality and was inevitability from my point of view that this was going to be the outcome of the 2016 referendum.

“We dealt entirely in abstract concepts and did not pay enough attention to the detail of what was really going to happen.

“I don’t know what the solution is and send me nice emails about how highly they think of Parliament and think so highly of me, rather than sending me emails that I am a traitor and a scumbag.”