Leading Remainer says Article 50 bill is a waste of time and effort

'The Leave campaign did not clearly state that Brexit could mean punishing tariffs set by the WTO', says Open Britain

Parliament will vote on the Article 50 bill today

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

A leading member of the Remain campaign during the EU referendum has said the Article 50 bill currently passing through Parliament is a waste of everyone's time.

James McGrory, former spokesman for the Britain Stronger in Europe campaign, also said the pro-Brexit lobby never told us that splitting with Brussels would bring "punishing WTO tariffs."

Parliament will shortly vote on a bill which, if enacted, would grant Theresa May permission to trigger Article 50 and begin Britain's secession from the EU, after the Supreme Court ruled that lawmakers must be consulted.

McGrory, now the co-executive director of Open Britain, a cross-party campaign group to keep the UK in the single market, told Julia Hartley-Brewer that Parliament will "overwhelmingly back the triggering of Article 50 and everyone has known that for some time.

"It's a shame we have to spend so much time and effort to have the Government dragged kicking and screaming by the courts. We should move on from this and have a debate on the substance of what [the Brexit] negotiations will decide."

Turning to the prospect of Britain reverting to WTO default tariffs in the event of a breakdown in negotiations with Brussels, McGrory said: "At no point did anybody on the Leave campaign say they were going to leave and you were going to get punishing tariffs on all the products you buy."

However Julia pointed out that some campaigners did say this and, as we already have some trade tariffs anyway, it's not a huge change.

Listen to the full interview above